TRIBUTES poured in today for former Burnley FC physio Jimmy Holland who has died on holiday in Greece.

The popular medic carried the magic' sponge at Turf Moor for over a quarter of a century, easing the aches and pains of scores of players and enjoying more than a few laughs with them along the way.

Former club captain Martin Dobson said: "Nobody likes to be injured but when you are you need someone to lift your spirits and also you need someone who is professional enough so you have complete confidence in whatever they say about your treatment.

"In Jimmy you had both of those things. He was a great person and he was a great character. He was so well respected by the boys."

Jimmy, born and bred in Burnley, joined the Clarets in 1965 after three years in Lincolnshire where he was group superintendent in charge of physiotherapy at the Boston Group of Hospitals, which covered the appropriately named Holland County area in South Lincolnshire.

Prior to that, he had started out as a chartered physiotherapist at Burnley Victoria Hospital in 1954 after serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps during a 10-year stint in the army which included a spell of active service in Korea.

Ex-Clarets striker Paul Fletcher said Jimmy would be remembered for his professional work and remarkable sense of humour.

He said: "I think he was the first person I met when I joined Burnley. He was very professional and one of the new breed of physios who were joining football clubs.

"Apart from anything else he was a nice guy. I was a big problem for him because I used to take the micky out of him to the delight of Jimmy Adamson, but he always took it in good spirits.

"He was a key member of the team when we won the Championship. It was a golden era for the club and Jimmy was a big part of that."

And former Burnley player and boss Stan Ternent added: "He was one of the best physios and a true gentleman."

Jimmy was given a testimonial by the club in 1991 for his sterling service which included a race night, sportsman's dinner, a golf day, grand ball and a testimonial match.

Lifelong friend Donald Simpson said: "He was a very popular man. I knew him as a friend and our kids went to school together so I also knew him from that. And I knew him through the freemasonry in Burnley, he was a good supporter of us.

"He'll be sadly missed, there's absolutely no question about that. I had a lot of time for Jimmy, he was well thought of and held in very high regard."

A spokesman for Burnley Football Club said: "We are saddened to hear of the death of Jimmy who was a long and loyal servant of the club. Our deepest condolences go out to his family."