YORK City legend Alf Patrick is immortalised in the Bootham Crescent record books and he will celebrate another landmark when he turns 90 tomorrow.

Alf, believed to be the Minstermen’s oldest surviving player, is also one of the most popular characters in the club’s history.

He remains the only City player to score five goals in a single match – during a 6-1 romp against Rotherham in November 1948 – and was the first man to reach 100 goals for the North Yorkshire outfit.

In a weekend of festivities, Alf will be joined by family and friends at his York home, St Edward’s Church in Dringhouses and Middlethorpe Hall.

He is then embarking on an Old Iberia cruise before joining fellow City legends such as Phil Burrows, Graeme Crawford, Mick Granger, Colin Addison, Chris Topping and Steve Tutill at a Pike Hills Golf Club dinner held in his honour on Friday, October 28.

Not surprisingly, more than half a century later, Alf cannot recall all of his famous nap hand against the Millers but he told the Press this week: “My son was only talking to me about it the other day.

“I can only remember the first goal being a header but I’ve still got the Evening Press report on that match and it talks about one of the goals being a 25-yard strike. I don’t know how I managed that with the balls we used to play with!

“You obviously have no thoughts of getting five goals when you put the first one in, but it was just one of those matches. It would have been nice to get six of the best but you can’t be too greedy.

“I remember going to Rotherham the same season and one of their fans shouted: ‘You won’t get five again this time, Patrick’. He was right – I didn’t get any!”

With 117 goals in 241 matches, Alf is fourth on the all-time City goalscorers’ list behind Norman Wilkinson, Keith Walwyn and Billy Fenton. From the seven players to have claimed a century of goals in City colours, however, only the exceptionally-prolific Arthur Bottom boasts a better goal ratio than the former Dringhouses and New Earswick amateur.

Alf added: “I’m proud of being the first player to score 100 goals for York because other records can be beaten but that one can’t and I’m also pleased with a goal ratio of one every other game.”

Due to the Second World War, in which he served in the Royal Engineers’ Tank Assault Unit, Alf had to wait until the age of 25 to kick off his football career but does not resent those lost years, reasoning: “Being selfish, I could be disappointed by that but I tend to think about some better players than me whose careers were finished by it.

“They’d been in their prime seven years earlier but I was still 25 and had plenty of time left for football.”

As a part-time professional, Alf combined City duties with working for engineering firm Cooke Troughton and Sims, and he admitted the modern game is unrecognisable from football in his era.

“We used to train on Tuesday and Thursday nights and it was mainly running around the pitch,” Alf revealed. “The manager said we needed to be hungry for the ball on Saturdays but I told him we’d forgotten what one looked like!

“The game has changed such a lot. The players are faster and fitter than we were and the full-backs are expected to get down the wings and create chances, whereas they never crossed the halfway line in our day.”

Loyalty is also a rare commodity in the 21st century but Alf ignored tempting overtures from more fashionable clubs to represent City from 1946 to 1953.

He said: “Sheffield United were interested in me, as were West Ham supposedly, but I was in my 30s by then. I’d just come out of the Army and was married and the money was nowhere near as obscene or ridiculous as it is these days. I saw no reason to leave York where I was happy and settled.”

All of Alf’s playing days with the Minstermen were spent in the old Third Division North but the 6ft 1in striker was still impressed by the talent of several team-mates, saying: “Jimmy Rudd was a very good left-winger.

“If he was playing today with the ball they use, he would have been magic. Another player who springs to mind was Steve Griffiths. He came to us from Barnsley when he’d nearly finished his career but was still a good inside forward. Then there was Sid Storey, who was quite useful too.”

Despite being registered as blind with only peripheral vision, Alf still attends the occasional match with his son and told The Press he was willing City to end their eight-year spell in non-League football.

“It was terrible and a great shame when the club were relegated,” Alf said. “I just hope they can get back up this season because they seem to be doing well.

“It’s tough though. I remember Wilf Meek, when he was the Evening Press reporter, wiring an article with the headline ‘The club can’t survive on crowds of 8,000’.

“They’re only getting 2,000 now. There was a match at Hull when we played in front of 40,000 fans.

“We were losing 2-0 with about 20 minutes to go but I scored twice and we ended up winning 3-2 and I always thought that was one of the best matches I played in.”

Club historian Dave Batters is in no doubt about Alf’s prominent place in City folklore. He said: “He’s one of the most popular players to ever play for York City.

“He was my schoolboy hero because he scored those five goals against Rotherham in the third match I ever saw. He was a local lad who had great enthusiasm.”

Tickets for Alf’s Pike Hills dinner, costing £25, are still available and can be reserved by calling Graham Bradbury on 07790 470589.

Walker in line for another monthly gong

JASON Walker is in the driving seat to clinch back-to-back Press Player of the Month awards.

The former Barrow striker took the honours for August and became this month’s frontrunner with a Press man-of-the-match showing during Tuesday night’s 2-2 draw with Darlington.

That accolade saw him earn three points towards the Press Player of the Month and Player of the Year standings.

The efforts of James Meredith (two) and Andre Boucaud (one) were also recognised as our second and third-highest rated players during the game.

Jamal Fyfield and Scott Kerr, meanwhile, shared the two bonus points on offer to the monthly contest having received the same number of man-of-the-match votes from visitors to our website.

During last weekend’s 3-0 win at Wrexham, our man-of-the-match Fyfield (three), Kerr (two) and Ashley Chambers (one) picked up the Press points, while Michael Ingham and Paddy McLaughlin topped the internet poll to share the monthly bonus points.

Don’t forget to vote for your City man of the match from today’s game at Luton. By doing so, you could also win the chance to present the September Player of the Month winner with a framed photograph before a City home match.

Press Player of the Year standings: Walker 14pts, Chambers 7, McGurk 6, Oyebanjo 6, Smith 6, Fyfield 5, Ingham 5, Meredith 3, Moke 3, Blair 2, Kerr 2, Boucaud 1.

Press Player of the Month standings: Walker 7, Fyfield 6, Ingham 6, Kerr 3, Oyebanjo 3, Chambers 2, Meredith 2, Boucaud 1, McGurk 1, McLaughlin 1.

Goals: Walker 7, Reed 3, McLaughlin 2, Blair 1, Boucaud 1, Chambers 1, Moke 1, Pilkington 1.

Assists: Chambers 7, Meredith 2, Walker 2, Henderson 1, McGurk 1, Moke 1, Oyebanjo 1, Potts 1, Smith 1.

Bad boys: McGurk 3 yellow cards; Boucaud, Kerr, Smith, Walker all 2 yellow; Fyfield, Ingham, McLaughlin, Moke, Oyebanjo, Parslow, Reed all 1 yellow.