A FORMER Bradford City and Bradford (Park Avenue) player has passed away at the age of 93.

Derek Hawksworth, who died on Wednesday, played over 450 games in total for both of the city's professional clubs, Huddersfield Town, Lincoln City and Sheffield United.

"Derek had dementia," said Graham Johnson, son in law of Hawksworth.

"At Christmas, they didn't give him long at all but he held on. We sadly knew his passing was coming, but in the end I'd say it was a blessing and it was time.

"Derek will be remembered as an out and out gentlemen, well respected all around the community.

"He would never have told you that he played football unless you got him talking.

"It was fantastic when he did tell you his stories but he would have never gone out the way to tell you them."

Bradfordian Hawksworth broke into Avenue's first team at the age of 16, playing alongside the legendary Len Shackleton, before joining City after a period in the Armed Forces.

Over his two spells at the club (1948-50 and 1961), he made 128 appearances and scored 28 goals, winning the hearts of many. 

The wing wizard also featured in the centrepiece Hall Of Fame exhibition at Valley Parade's Football Museum, which includes City's all time best 11 players, selected by the fans. 

Johnson added: "City and Avenue will always hold a special place in Derek's heart because he started out there and then returned to the former later in his career. 

"Although he spent a big part of his career at Sheffield United, Derek would always continue to watch City or listen to the commentary on the radio. We took him back to Valley Parade on numerous occasions."

Hawksworth ended his first spell at the club by joining United, then for a record fee of £12,500.

It was there the wide man made his name, making 255 league appearances over an eight-year spell for the Bramall Lane outfit.

He was strong, fast and dangerous near goal, netting 88 strikes from an outside-left position.

He bagged a brace in the historic 7–3 win over Sheffield Wednesday in September 1951.

"Derek loved his time at Sheffield," added Johnson. "He is loved around the area and was well recognised.

"The last time we took him up there was to watch United against Bradford, people were still coming up and asking for autographs. It was amazing."

He transferred to Huddersfield Town in 1958 in an exchange deal, which saw Ronnie Simpson move the other way. 

14 goals in 55 league matches for the Terriers was followed by him scoring the same number in 36 league games for Lincoln.

It is well known fact that Hawksworth always desired a return to his first club.