LAVISH tributes have been accorded to York City legendary marksman Paul Aimson, who has died at the age of 64 from a heart attack after a brief illness.

Club historian David Batters was in no doubt as to Aimson's rightful place in the pantheon of Minstermen marvels.

He told The Press: "Without a doubt he was the best all-round centre-forward in the history of the club.

"He would be in my all-star team. We've had great strikers like Keith Walwyn, Alf Patrick and, more recently, Paul Barnes. But Paul Aimson was top of the pile.

"He was the complete centre-forward and not only did he score goals he also created chances for others.

"He was a great bloke and a great footballer.

"Sometimes it's a bit frivolous to use the word legend, but Paul Aimson was a true legend. He will go down in York City history as one of the greats."

Graham Bradbury, former Football League linesman and currently in charge of match-day hospitality at Kitkat Crescent, was equally fulsome.

He and Batters both recalled a return to City just 18 months ago. Aimson was introduced after a City match to fans in the club's social club and was given a rousing ovation.

"He was moved to tears," recalled Bradbury. "He then said to the fans you are the salt of the earth'.

Bradbury added: "We had arranged for him to be a guest of the club at our recent match at Weymouth. He only lived a short distance away in Christchurch in Dorset, but he was unable to attend because of illness.

"It's truly a sad time for the club now that he has died.

"We all use the word legend far too easily, but Paul Aimson was just that, a legend for York City.

"He was the perfect centre-forward and a perfect gentleman."

Aimson first came to Bootham Crescent in a £1,000 deal in 1964 from Manchester City, where he advanced through the junior ranks.

His initial spell at York saw the first flowerings of his ability as a striker of grace and power and within 20 months he had moved to Bury for £10,000.

Besides playing for the Shakers, he also starred for Bradford City and Huddersfield Town from whom he returned to the Minstermen in 1969 in an £8,000 move.

He was to spend a further four seasons in the red of York, where he was top scorer in four of his six campaigns during his two spells. He notched 113 league and cup goals from 249 appearances to hoist him to the lofty position of fifth highest scorer in City history.

Among his tally was no fewer than five hat-tricks, including the classic triple feat of one goal with his left foot, another with his right and a third with his head in a 4-1 conquest of Hull City in 1965.

Aimson figured in two successful promotion campaigns with City in 1965 and 1971, the latter season seeing him bag the fastest goal in club records after just nine and a half seconds against Torquay.