When Rodney Green was spotted by the manager of third division Bradford Park Avenue FC while playing for Halifax Town in 1962, it marked the start of a professional footballing career that saw him scoring for clubs including Luton, Watford and Durban United, in South Africa.
Mr Green, who died aged 79 on November 21 after a long battle with dementia, was born in a two-up, two-down cottage in Lower Edge, Elland.
After leaving Rastrick Grammar School, he trained as a teacher in Grantham, but spent just a few months in his first post at Guiseley before being signed by Bradford.
He went on to make 66 appearances as centre forward for neighbouring club Bradford City, where, in his second season, he was the Bantams’ top scorer, with 29 league goals, including two hat-tricks.
After spending year at Gillingham FC, he was sold to Grimsby Town in 1965 and, following a year-long stint at Charlton Athletic, was again sold, this time to Luton Town.
In 1967, he was bought by Luton rivals Watford and became a favourite amongst fans, who – knowing of his fondness for a post-match trip to the pub - coined the song: “He’s up, he’s down, he’s in the Rose and Crown, Rodney Green . . .” which they would belt out from the stands each time he walked out of the tunnel.
Moving to South Africa in 1970, he played for Durban City before returning to his home town six years later, where a new career as an antiques dealer saw him open a shop on North Bridge, later founding a furniture importing company based in Elland.
Renowned for being a larger than life character both on and off the pitch, Mr Green never lost his passion for football and, as manager of Stump Cross in 1980, he took his team to victory in the Halifax and District FA Challenge Cup at the Shay.
A dyed-in-the-wool Yorkshireman, a devoted father and grandfather and a true English eccentric, in later life he built up a small collection of classic vehicles.
These included a vintage tractor, which, when he found himself snowed in one Boxing Day, he drove through a deserted Halifax town centre to get to the pub for a seasonal pint.
Mr Green is survived by his four sons, his daughter and step-daughter, his eight grand-children and great-grandson.
A funeral will be held at Park Wood Crematorium, Elland, on Wednesday, December 12 at 2pm.
Family flowers only, but donations welcome to the The Sporting Memories Foundation, care of B J Melia and Sons, 64 Gibbet Street, HX1 5BP.