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 to score 100 league goals for the club, reaching the milestone against Grimsby Town in April 1952, less than 6 years after his City debut. 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. The war and service in The Royal Enginneers pre-occupied him.

Joining City after the war, in 241 appearances in league and cup, local lad Alf racked up 117 goals for the Minstermen at a rate of almost one goal every other game, after making a goalscoring debut, aged 25, 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. Along the way, he netted a record 6 league hat tricks for City (Reg Baines did likewise) and was leading scorer in each of the first four post war seasons.

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 in June 1954 (he spent his last season with City playing for our reserve side). He retired from football in 1955 and spent some time helping with the third team which competed in the Yorkshire League.

Speaking in 2021, 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 always said, if you don’t shoot you don’t score, and is probably best remembered for his five goals against Rotherham. 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. He was an active member of his community in Woodthorpe throughout a long and happy retirement. He remained a welcome visitor to Bootham Crescent long after he had hung up his boots.

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 City's third team which competed in the Yorkshire League.

Alf Patrick (2006): Interviewed by Phil Howden


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

Sadly, Alf Patrick passed away on 2nd November 2021. There was a minute’s applause during the Buxton cup tie later that month, the ninth minute timing coinciding with his shirt number. A true York City great.

More: City's all time top strikers