STEETON manager Roy Mason said the wealth of tributes to club president David Baxter, who died on Sunday, shows the high esteem in which he was held.

The club's Facebook page was inundated with condolence messages as people, including many from the Keighley football community, paid their respects to the 83-year-old, who passed away after a short illness.

David had been part of Steeton Football Club since 1948, first as a player before taking on off-field roles as club treasurer and president. He was the driving force behind the club's fund-raising for many years, selling raffle tickets and running the Craven pools.

Mason said: "When we announced that David had passed away, we've never had a post that has had that much interaction.

"We had over 9,000 views and over 100 comments, and that just showed what people thought of the guy. His heart and soul was in Steeton AFC.

"David was a big character. He was forthright and called a spade a spade but he was also a genuinely nice guy."

David helped take the club through local leagues to become one of the current leading West Riding County Amateur League outfits.

He was presented with a prestigious Football Association 50 years' long service award in 2007 and

only last month, Steeton recognised David’s achievements with the unveiling of a plaque at the ground and a lunch at Steeton Hall.

Mason said his loyalty to one club over such a long period was admirable.

He said: “To be with a club from 1948 to 2017, you might never see the likes of that again. He was a one-club man all his life.”

David – who was a weaving mill manager at Woodrow Universal in Cross Hills, where he worked for 50 years – was instrumental in the club’s change of location to its current base in 1969.

Mason explained: “Where the club used to play, where Airedale Hospital is now, he used to mark the pitch out with sawdust and sometimes had to move cows off the ground before kick-off.

“He played an integral role in the move to Summerhill Lane in 1969 and was massively proud of what we have got down there with our own pavilion and own field.”

As club treasurer, David kept a tight rein on finances.

Mason said: “Dave’s motto was pretty much ‘if you look after the pennies the pounds will look after themselves’.

“When I first went there as manager and said we need to spend money on something, Dave used to question everything and ask, why do you need it lad?

“You had to justify it but in those days it was difficult to get money.

“It’s not easy now but you didn’t have things like social media and advertising boards.

“Almost every penny the club got was down to a lot of David’s hard work.”

David became renowned for his tenacious raffle-ticket selling – when he used to raffle off a bottle of whiskey at the club’s headquarters at The Goat’s Head pub after home games.

“Woe betide you if you didn’t buy one!” Mason remembers fondly.

David’s first involvement with Steeton was as a 13-year-old when his ability at left back was spotted by Jack Fortune – whom the club’s pavilion is named after.

He first played in the minors before being called up to the first team, whom he captained with success in the 1950s before joining the committee and having a spell as joint first-team manager.

Mason admits he was glad the club were able to honour him last month, having been aware his health had been declining. The Steeton boss said: “We felt it was important that while Dave was alive we recognised as a club what he has done for the club.

“It was quite poignant but he didn’t look great. I did think ‘I wonder how many more times I’ll see him.’”

David leaves children Anne and Michael and four grandchildren Andrew, Hannah, Hollie and Natasha.

His funeral is at Kildwick Church on Wednesday, November 22 (1pm) followed by cremation at Skipton and a wake at Herriots Hotel in the town.