A TRUE gentleman of football, who was awarded the MBE for his services to the amateur game, has died at the age of 97.

Physio Syd Parkinson gave loyal service to no fewer than four East Lancashire football clubs during an 83-year career.

And when Colne Dynamoes notched up their famous victory in the FA Vast at Wembley in 1988, fans are convinced Syd earned the biggest roar of the day when he ran on the pitch to treat one of the players.

Colne FC chairman Dave Blacklock said: “He was a proper gentleman and he just loved his football.

“All of the amateur players used to go to him for treatment and when you left his house afterwards he used to say ‘don’t you dare limp!’.”

Brent Peters, manager of Bacup Boro, another of his former clubs, said: “It was a real pleasure working with and knowing such a true gentleman as Syd was.

“He was a character loved by all at all the clubs he had been involved with and at every ground he would visit.

“Syd’s door at home would always be open where he would make himself available to treat players in order to get them back playing the game he loved.”

Brent joined the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Sam Allardyce, Sky Sports producer Peter Smith and ex-Colne Dynamo Duncan McFadyen in nominating Syd for his MBE in 2006.

Sir Alex described him as a ‘legendary character’.

That same year former Burnley FC stars of the 1990s turned out at Bacup’s West View stadium for a charity game to honour Syd, who also carried the sponge for Rossendale United.

Formerly living in Barrowford Road in Colne, he moved down to Paignton, Devon, three years ago to be nearer to his son Johnny. He died there on Thursday after a short illness.

A spokesman for Barnoldswick Town said: “Our sympathy goes to his son Johnny and all his family at this sad time.”