A CENTURION on and off the field, Alf Patrick's was a long, rich life which inspired both those who knew him as Alf the legendary striker, and Alf the legendary man.

Born in York on September 25, 1921, Alf went on to make 241 appearances for York City, where his achievements in front of goal, his inexhaustible work rate, and personality made him a firm fan favourite. That he turned down a move to City's illustrious Yorkshire rivals Leeds United spoke volumes of his character.

Even today, his name produces the same warm response from those lucky enough to have seen him play, and those who did not.

His goalscoring record is well documented, but bears repeating. After all, he alone could say he had scored five goals in one game for York City, and is part of an exclusive club with just six others to have cracked the 100-goal barrier for the Minstermen.

At the start of his footballing journey, Alf played at full-back for York Schools, before his six-foot-plus frame was put to use in attack at Bootham Crescent, with outstanding results.

He racked up no fewer than 114 goals for the Minstermen after making a goalscoring debut in a 3-2 win against Stockport County in November 1946, with his nap hand coming in York's 6-1 thumping of Rotherham United two years later, in November 1948.

In the final game of the 1951/52 season, Alf became the first post-war City player to reach 100 goals, with a strike against Grimsby.

But Alf was much more than the man who led City's line for six-and-a-half fruitful years. He was also an excellent cricketer who had a life-long involvement, on and off the field, with Dringhouses Cricket Club where, up until his death, he was club president. The club is situated next to the railway line into York, and Alf will be remembered for sending six after six over the tracks.

In his later years he also played bowls for Dringhouses Bowling Club, where he was a life member.

During the Second World War, Alf served in The Royal Engineers as part of a Tank Assault Unit building bridges across Sicily and Italy, and had the honour of being mentioned in dispatches in January 1945 after having detonated an unexploded bomb.

Alf worked at Cooke, Troughton & Simms, the York-based instrument makers which later became Vickers Instruments, on Haxby Road, where he worked as a milling machine operator, and later, a work study engineer. It was from there that the tireless Alf would cycle home at 1pm on a Saturday to get changed before riding to Bootham Crescent in time for a 3pm kick off.

In 1948, he married Mary Fawcett at St Edward’s Church, Dringhouses. They were happily married for 47 years until Mary sadly passed away in 1995.

Alf and Mary have one son, Stephen Patrick, who paid tribute to his father, saying: “Dad was a warm, kind, loving and compassionate man, who always gave 100 per cent to everything he did, be that on the sports field or spending and giving his time to others. His was a life well lived.

"Dad had a large heart which he shared with many people. He was a family man. He loved being married to my mum; he was a terrific dad to me and father-in-law to Tracey. He was a wonderful grandad to David and Elizabeth, and great-grandad to Albie, Darcey and George.

"In later years, he developed a close friendship with Iris Galley, and they went on to share many happy years together.

"The thing that comes to my mind when I think of dad was his generosity of spirit. The time he always had for people and the wonderful company that he was.

"He has long been described as a York City legend, but he was also a legend to us and our family.”

Alf celebrated his 100th birthday in September of this year with a small gathering of family and friends. He passed away peacefully on November 2, 2021 after a short illness.

He was honoured by the club with a minute's applause during the ninth minute of the FA Cup game against Buxton on November 6. His family thanked the club for their hospitality, and fans for what was a moving tribute.

Alf's funeral will take place at St Edward the Confessor, Dringhouses on Friday, November 19 at 1pm. Those wishing to pay their respects are invited to attend.

His family request family flowers only, and donations in Alf's memory will be split between St Edward the Confessor church funds, York Against Cancer and MySight York.