A Bradford (Park Avenue) fan of over 80 years, and a club stalwart at Bradford Premier League side Spen Victoria has died at the age of 91.

Tributes have been pouring in for the much-loved Malcolm Hirst, who passed away last Sunday, with former East Bierley and New Farnley captain Lee Goddard and 1990s run machine Chris Pickles leading the way.

Posting on X, formerly Twitter, Goddard wrote: “My first ever coach at my first ever club. RIP Malcolm.

“Thank you for everything you did for me in my early years at Spen. Always a gentleman.”

Pickles added: “Malcolm was a true gent, made me feel very welcome when I first came to Spen.”

The Bradford Premier League’s chief executive Alan Birkinshaw had a personal connection to Malcolm too, saying: “My three sons were all introduced to junior cricket at Spen Victoria and Malcolm always encouraged them to play the game the right way.

“He insisted on players having their shirts tucked in and expected them to show respect for umpires and opponents.

“Malcom devoted hours of his time to the club. If he wasn’t coaching young players, he would be helping out and would always fight the cricket section’s corner if the need arose.

“Everybody who has played for the club knows just what an immense contribution he made to Spen Victoria.

“He will be sorely missed and on behalf of the Bradford Premier League I extend our deepest sympathies to his two sons David and John.”

The 91-year-old made his final visit to his beloved Spen Lane last summer, where for many years he could be seen watching the action from the top corner sat on his sun lounger, decked out in his trademark shorts and tennis shoes.

Until his later years, which saw him undergo two hip operations, he would assist around the ground, rolling the pitch and marking the boundary.

But that was just a small part of his contribution to Spen Victoria.

He was a trustee of the parent club, committee member, and for more than 30 years, he organised and ran the club’s junior section.

Cricket wasn’t Malcolm’s only passion though.

For 80 years, he was a loyal supporter of Bradford (Park Avenue) and when he joined Spen Victoria in the 1970s, he was also involved running Hunsworth Juniors Football Club, where one of his young charges was the former Barnsley star and ex-Leeds United boss Neil Redfearn.

Malcolm often spoke about the top players he saw at Avenue, with future England internationals Billy Elliott and Kevin Hector among his favourites.

He would also recall fondly watching Sir Learie Constantine play cricket in the Bradford League.

For six years, Malcolm was also the number one player at Cleckheaton Tennis Club and made an annual pilgrimage to Eastbourne to watch the ladies’ pre-Wimbledon tournament.

Another yearly jaunt would see him go to Scarborough to watch Yorkshire play in the County Championship – T20 wasn’t for him.

Malcolm, who served for two years in the RAF, was a butcher by trade and had two shops, one on Otley Road, Bradford and the other at Bolton Woods.

His funeral will be at Dewsbury Crematorium at 9.30am on Friday, December 15. There will be refreshments at Spen Victoria afterwards.