Alf Patrick

Local hero, Alf Atrick was the first player to score 100 goals for City

In 1952, Alf Patrick became the first York City player in peacetime to score 100 goals for the club.

On September 25, 2021, Alf celebrated another century as he turned 100 years of age.

His list of feats in front of goal is astonishing, made all the more so by the fact that he did not get going as a City player until he was 25 years old. In 241 appearances in league and cup, local lad Alf racked up no fewer than 114 goals for the Minstermen at a rate of almost one goal every other game, after making a goalscoring debut in a 3-2 win against Stockport County in November 1946, a game in which he also missed a penalty. That puts him fourth (behind Wilkinson, Walwyn and Fenton) in City’s all time top scoring list.

Amongst his most distinguished exploits was becoming the first (post the 1922-9 non league era) and thus far only, City player to score five goals, in a 6-1 win over Rotherham United in November 1948. By pure chance, the National Coal Board filmed the game as part of a feature on a Rotherham United scout for their "Mining Review" series. Watch: CITY 6 Rotherham 1 (4 minutes, 27 seconds in).

Though a number of other clubs were interested in his signature, including Leeds United, Alf remained loyal to the Bootham Crescent outfit until he moved on to Scarborough at the age of 31 in June 1953.

Steve Patrick, his son, said, “We all admire him, me and all the family, my wife, Tracey, son David and all the grandchildren. We all look up to him. He has been a great role model for all of us. He is well thought of by everyone he meets and has a great zest for life. In the last year or two, he has had so many knock-backs but he has bounced back. He is just a joy to be with".

Married in 1948, his wife Mary sadly passed away in 1995. “He has been widowed for many years but has lived independently and done marvellously to carry on as he has done. In the last 10 years, he has had his great friend and partner Iris Galley", Steve added. Alf now lives in Amarna House, a care home in York.

Graham Bradbury, a former referee and lifetime York City fan, had the pleasure of watching Alf play just the once, during a Happy Wanderers charity match at Heworth's Elmpark Way in 1968 when he stood in for Arthur Bottom. A life member of the York City Supporters' Trust, he said is "one of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet. Alf is iconic in York sporting circles and I am sure I speak for all York City fans, those that saw him play and those that are too young to remember him, that his feats in playing for the club will always be included in any York City history book. Now, reaching the milestone of 100 years of age is a great century to achieve. Alf, we supporters and the whole of the city of York are proud of you. Happy 100th birthday".

Like many players of his era, Alf was a part time footballer.

One man who was fortunate enough to have seen Alf play is Ken Thorpe, who is now watching his 75th season of York City football. "If anybody covered every blade of grass a Bootham Crescent, it was Alf Patrick, he is a remarkable fellow. He used to work for an optical firm (Vickers) on Haxby Road and at one o'clock on a Saturday, he would ride his bike home to Dringhouses, get changed and come racing back to Bootham Crescent on his bike. I was walking to Bootham Crescent with my dad and I shouted to him, 'Alf's coming!' and he came charging past on his bike. The next time you saw him, he was running out on the pitch - the most energetic fellow you've ever seen".

A keen cricketer and a real character, says Ken, Alf was also known for smashing sixes over the railway lines that run alongside Dringhouses Cricket Club.

Alf will be celebrating his century with a small but warm gathering with a score of friends and family.

Dave Penney, City’s Sporting Director and Dan Simmonite also dropped by to wish him a happy birthday and presented him with a ‘Patrick 100’ printed shirt and left a Steve Watson video message ahead of his planned birthday party whilst The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of York also visited him.

Alf Patrick at 100: City visit and wish him a happy birthday.

In 2012, a year after his 90th birthday, Alf received Maundy Money from the Queen and received a letter from her to celebrate his 100th birthday.

After leaving City in 1953, he played for Scarborough. Later, he would joke with his former teammates, that only his injury prevented his Boro side from knocking City out of the FA Cup in 1954 at the start of our run to the semi final, it was probably the toughest game City faced in that cup run. Subsequently, he spent some time coaching junior City sides.

Alf Patrick (2006): Interviewed by Phil Howden

Footnotes:

  1. His teammate, Matt Patrick was no relation
  2. Alf named Steve Griffiths and Jimmy Rudd as his best teammates.

More: City's all time top strikers