TRIBUTES have poured in to sports journalist and former Examiner reporter Alan Thompson.
The 71-year-old, from Fixby, died after a heart attack on January 2. He leaves his wife, Jean, and two sons, Mark aged 42, and Ian, 39.
As a young man Mr Thompson lived in Crosland Moor with his parents, who owned a sweet shop.
He was a keen footballer, playing half-back for his school, Royds Hall Grammar, and Paddock Civic Youth Club.
But he went on to become a doyen among sports writers, working for the Daily Express for many years.
Examiner sports editor John Gledhill said: "There was an empty seat in the Press room at the Galpharm Stadium - and a void in the hearts of many.
"Shortly before kick-off against Bristol City we learned that "Thommo" had died after a heart attack.
"He was an icon in provincial and national newspaper sports journalism in a career spanning more than half a century.
"He became best known for his colourful football and cricket reports, so delightfully penned, often embellished with a tale or two, and always with particular attention to detail in which he displayed his diverse knowledge of the subject in hand, particularly when it featured football or cricket."
Childhood friend and fellow Examiner journalist Mike Shaw remembers Mr Thompson as a strong, fearless player.
"He was uncompromising as a footballer," he said. "We had a good understanding on the pitch and enjoyed quite a bit of success with Paddock.
"We were great friends as boys. Even in those days he wanted to be a journalist or writer of some kind. He was very determined to get what he wanted - and it was sport he was most interested in."
After leaving Royds Hall aged 16 Mr Thompson joined the Examiner as a trainee sports reporter. He spent five years honing his craft, watching his beloved Huddersfield Town, before moving on to work for the Nottingham Evening Post.
Within another two years he made the leap to national journalism, taking a job as northern sports correspondent for the Daily Express. He stayed there until he retired.
He reported on such memorable games and Manchester United's 1968 European Cup triumph and witnessed the rise of great teams, including Don Revie's Leeds United and Bill Shankly's Liverpool.
Alan Driscoll, a friend and colleague in his Examiner days, said Mr Thompson was an accurate reporter whose legacy lives on in today's sports writing.
"He was recognised as one of the best sports reporters in the country," he said.
"He was one of the first who took sports and made it more important in newspapers.
"But beyond that he was also a very good friend and the best man at my wedding.
"I will remember him as someone who enjoyed a laugh and a joke and was a good person to have on your side."
After he retired Mr Thompson - also a keen golfer - continued reporting on Town for the Sunday Mirror.
His funeral was held today at Huddersfield crematorium.