TRIBUTES have been paid to legendary Keighley footballer Allan Hockey who has died aged 78.

Hockey was born down Bradford Street in 1940 and, after leaving school, he served his apprenticeship at Dean, Smith & Grace as a mechanical engineer, where he met his wife Angela, who worked in the office.

Shortly after starting at Dean’s he went for a trial with Burnley but was unable to pursue this any further as his father said that he needed to complete his apprenticeship.

Although he never pursued any potential chances of playing professional football, he went on to achieve great things at a local amateur level and is arguably one of the most decorated local footballers.

Hockey played Saturdays and Sundays for 25 years for sides including Keighley Central, Silsden, Dean, Smith & Grace, Magnet, Colne Dynamoes and Keighley Town.

In his youth he had played for Bradford City Juniors, alongside his younger brother the late Trevor, and playing against Billy Bremner.

He formed part of the backbone of those successful teams during the 1960s, 70s and early 80s that dominated in the Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, West Riding County Amateur Leagues and Keighley & District Alliance.

He played for and captained Dean Smith & Grace at the time of the introduction of the Keighley & District Sunday League in 1963, in a team that went 150 league games without defeat between 1964 and 1968, picking up seven league winners medals, six Jeff Hall Cup winners medals and four Kensington Cup winners' medals. The team also lifted the Sunday County Cup in 1970-71.

In 1966-67 they were entered in the FA Sunday Cup, but lost in the semi-final to Carlton, ending their 60 game plus unbeaten run.

Hockey also played for Keighley Central on Saturdays and they became County Cup Winners in 1967-68. They became a top side and won the Yorkshire League Division Three in 1963-64 season, lifted the Keighley & District Cup six times and won the West Yorkshire League Premier in 1969-70.

While playing for Central, sometimes alongside one of his younger brothers Mostyn, Allan was selected to represent the Northern Counties team against Cheshire.

He moved on from Dean’s and started playing for Silsden on Saturdays, and won the West Riding County Amateur League Premier in 1971-72, lifted the WRCAL Cup three times in two separate spells, as well as a WRCAL Division One winners’ trophy in 1977-78, when they returned to the league later following a successful spell in the West Yorkshire League. This period included West Yorkshire League Division One winners two years running, including a league and cup double in 1973-74. The team was also Keighley & District Cup Winners for three consecutive years.

He was selected for County FA against East Yorkshire 1974-75, and Silsden were promoted and became West Yorkshire Premier League winners in 1975-76.

On Sundays he started playing with Magnet, a team that swept all before them winning five Keighley & District Sunday League titles including a league and cup double in 1973-74, another Jeff Hall Cup win as well as Keighley & District Sunday Cup winners medals, as Magnet’s was the only name on the trophy until 1982-83.

They became the first local side to lift the West Riding County Cup twice (in 1973-74 and 1976-77), with Hockey lifting the trophy on both occasions. Nationally the team got to the FA Sunday Cup semi-final twice (1977-78 and 1978-79).

As Silsden had folded on Saturdays, Allan’s brother Trevor had returned to the area after his successful professional career, and was instrumental in the re-birth of Keighley Town on Saturdays.

Success was immediate and they lifted the Keighley & District Cup four consecutive years from 1980-81 to 1983-1984. They won the WRCAL Division One in two consecutive years including a league and cup double in their first season, promoted the year after and were WRCAL Premier Division winners in 1982-83 at the first attempt.

They were also Keighley Charity Cup Winners in 1980-81 and in that first and highly successful season, Allan played in the friendly arranged against Northern Premier League champions Mossley, which drew a crowd of 1,500 at Lawkholme Lane, as brother Trevor tried to create & develop a semi-professional football set-up locally.

Allan played his 19th Keighley Cup Final in 1981-82 in Town’s 2-0 victory against Keighley Shamrocks on the old Marley Stadium centre pitch.

Allan also had a brief spell with Colne Dynamoes, when he was approached by Lancashire millionaire businessman Graham White, who was trying to develop a team capable of progressing up the pyramid to the Football League, but much later this failed and the team was disbanded due to Burnley refusing to ground share when their Holt House ground wasn’t up to the required standard.

Additionally back in 1973 he played for the Sunday league representative team that played in and had a good degree of success in the Lancashire Inter-League Cup competition and, in 1973-74, lifted the trophy by beating top side Kirkby from Liverpool in the two-legged final.

In August 1979, his brother Trevor started the 'Trevor Hockey Soccer Camp' for local youngsters, where Allan along with other local top footballers helped with the coaching.

This was popular and encouraged to develop many future footballers. After Trevor’s death in 1987, Allan continued with the Soccer Camp until 1989.

He finished playing in his early 50s and eventually ended up taking over from Bob Taylor and managing Keighley Town until the team eventually folded due to lack of players in 1987.

Allan will be sadly missed by so many people and he leaves his wife Angela, their daughter Lesley and son Adrian and their grandchildren.