TRIBUTES have been paid to a man who dedicated his life to football.

Having spent more than 60 years involved in the game, Basingstoke Town has led the tributes to its vice-president Alan Turvey, who has died at the age of 85.

Alan started his career in football when he set up Essex side Wickford Boys in the 1950s before becoming a referee in 1959 and going on to be a top flight official in the old First Division.

He was also instrumental in helping his hometown club of Basingstoke to become a community owned club last year.

Chief executive at Basingstoke Town Dave Knight said: “He was heavily involved in our local community, a former chairman of the Isthmian league, our club president and not only a great supporter of the team but he worked so hard behind the scenes of our club.”

Along with being a Hampshire FA councillor, Alan was also president of the Isthmian League in 2000.

Bostik League chairman Nick Robinson added: “Alan worked tirelessly for the league from 1978 when he became a divisional fixture secretary, and he oversaw the development of the league for over 30 years from 1982- during which time the league moved from an amateur league to the fully professional league it is now.

“He will be sadly missed by his many friends in football.”

Alan was one of the FA’s 150 Grassroots Heroes who were presented with a specially minted medal by his Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge.

Alan had been taken to Brompton Hospital where he had undergone two operations for a heart problem, and was moved to Basingstoke where he died on Monday.

Mr Knight added: “Alan lived locally in Old Basing with his wife Margaret and was a dear friend to many, especially here at Basingstoke Town.

“He was a huge support to us.

“He will be sorely missed.”

A minute’s silence will be held at the Camrose ahead of Basingstoke’s home game against Merthyr on Saturday, as well as at other league games taking place over the weekend across the southern leagues.