Norman Wilkinson

Norman Wilkinson, York City's all-time record goal scorer and a member of the team which reached the FA Cup semi-final in 1955, has died aged 79.

He scored 143 goals in 401 league and cup appearances in his 12 years at Bootham Crescent between May 1954 and May 1966 and was then presented with a gold inscribed watch by the club's directors to mark his outstanding service with York.

No other player has matched his 39 FA Cup appearances since the club was formed in 1922.

Born in Alnwick on February 16, 1931, Norman Wilkinson played for Hull City as an amateur when he was doing his national service in the RAF before signing for York City, for whom he played in two promotion teams (1958-59 and 1964-65).

The youngest member of the legendary team – then in the Third Division – which reached the FA Cup semi-final, probably his finest hour came when he scored twice in the 3-1 fifth round home win over Tottenham Hotspur in February 1955.

Wilkinson, a very popular player, was outstanding in the air and many of his goals came from headers. He wasn't the quickest of players but read the game well and although he was primarily a centre forward he was quite happy to play in any position in the forward line.

Because of his loping style of running he sometimes looked somewhat pedestrian, but many long-term City supporters regarded him as probably the most underrated player to represent the club in the 1950s and 60s.

His team mates always felt he was the best player off the ball they had played with and whenever a colleague had the ball they could be certain that Wilkinson would be in space waiting to receive a pass. His movement and anticipation remain unsurpassed.

Despite all his hard work and ability to cover an immense amount of ground, he trained only in the evenings, remaining a part-time professional for the whole of his career.

He was a cobbler by profession in Annfield Plain, County Durham, where he lived for most of his life. He put that profession to good use as he was always proud of wearing well-cared for decent boots.

When players started to wear screw-in studs, Norman would have leather bars on his boots in the winter months to get a better grip, changing to studs when it was drier.

Norman Wilkinson always kept up his friendship with York City, attending matches each season until last year with Gordon Brown, another member of the semi-final team, who died last August.

He had a great passion for the club which was illustrated in October 2006 when he turned up at Newcastle Benfield where York were playing an FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie. He was not there as a guest of the club but simply waited for the gates to open as a paying customer.

Wilkinson's death leaves only two of the semi-final team, Arthur Bottom, who lives in Sheffield and Tommy Forgan, who emigrated to Perth, Australia in 1974.

A minute's silence was observed before York's home match against AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night in recognition of Wilkinson's outstanding contribution to the club's 89-year history