In football’s enriched, cheapened age, tributes to Ivor Broadis seemed from a more courteous time. “Rest in peace, sir,” some wrote on Twitter, upon hearing of his death.

Broadis was never knighted but the ‘sir’ was appropriate. It reflected the fact many football followers not just admired but looked up to him. He was the game’s true master in Carlisle, as well as a legend of his country.

A minute’s silence, at Brunton Park today, cannot be enough to contemplate the sweep of Broadis’ life, or his contribution to this area. It will be, though, a pause well worth making. The man, after all, touched rare heights in each stage of his story: as a flight navigator of 500 hours in World War Two; a manager at an age when some modern players have yet to leave the cocoon of under-23 squads; a potent inside-forward and World Cup goalscorer; a football journalist who blended insight with wit; and, in older age, a touchstone for anyone who wanted to know what a decent and well-lived life looked like.

Just one of those aspects would be enough for most people. Broadis negotiated every step with a straight back and a strong will. He seldom suffered fools, but was kind to many who came to him for help, or simply an audience.

This applied during his press box days, as a number of his reporting colleagues have confided, as well as the final months of his life. I met Broadis three times in the last year; each occasion – whether he had been lively of anecdote or the flow of reminiscence had not been so easy – the exchange ended the same. The old man reached up from his seat, wrapped my hands in his, and said: “Any time you need anything, just ask.”

The idea we could ask anything more of Broadis was absurd. It was a treat just to have his company: a treat that was easy to overlook when, well into his 80s, he was one of several heads buried in notepads in Brunton Park’s old press box, his flask and sandwiches beside him, his work carried out without glamour or ceremony.

When I interviewed him last May, he told tales both amusing and profound. The word “legend”, though, provoked no response. This, perhaps, came from his selfless generation, when boys were pressed to be men for a country at war. Broadis, originally from the Isle of Dogs in London, flew RAF Wellingtons and Lancasters, bringing British troops home when conflict ended.

His introduction to Carlisle United came here, after his posting to Crosby-on-Eden. The thought of a 23-year-old player-manager seems ridiculous today but it says something about the young Broadis that he not only agreed to the offer but set vigorously about the club, with its archaic ways and limited funds.

That Broadis, as boss, later proposed accepting Sunderland’s bid for his playing services further marked him as a man less ordinary. Carlisle needed the cash and Ivor, who continued training at Brunton Park, famously taking on Bill Shankly in carpark contests around upturned chimney pots, merited the bigger stage. This he found at Roker Park and also Manchester City: the period in which a policeman’s knock delivered his first England call.

Broadis faced the Hungarians of Puskas and Hidegkuti, and his two goals against Belgium in the 1954 World Cup were among eight from 14 caps. He starred before six-figure crowds against Scotland and was by Tom Finney’s side when the Preston Plumber rejected lucrative Italian lire. Finney was rated as the best Broadis played with, and few were better placed to observe that Stanley Matthews was the marginally lesser of the two wingers, because the great dribbler had to “go off and do his thing” before providing service to the forwards.

After a notable period at Newcastle, Broadis’ second spell at Carlisle, which included a ripe combination with the South African finisher, Alf Ackerman, entered club annals. After a final hurrah at Queen of the South, his contributions with the pen also did. Having written columns as a player, he eased naturally into this career. His son, daughter and son-in-law were also newspaper folk and while Broadis’ writing had a flourish, it seldom wasted words.

There was none of the pomposity or guff which are common traps for lesser scribes. There was traditional football phrasing – in 1986 he described Middlesbrough’s aggressive Brian Laws as trying to cut United’s John Halpin off “by the stocking-tops” – and colourful imagery, like the Wimbledon defence “as brittle as clay pipes in a fairground shooting gallery”.

If those were the painted pictures, Broadis was also a serious and inevitably trusted reporter over his many years for publications in the North East and with Cumbrian Newspapers. He saw value in restraint. An opinion piece when Harry Gregg’s bleak Carlisle tenure ended managed to hit all the necessary angles without lambasting or humiliating his fellow man.

This is not to be confused with safety-first journalism. “Always print what you think,” he said – a principle which nurtured readers’ respect, and a line often heard from the great writers. It speaks of integrity, of trusting your eyes and judgment, not basing your work on whichever way the wind is blowing.

It is a shame, with this in mind, that his intention to write his autobiography was overtaken by his advancing years. It’s also regrettable that, for a number of those years, he did not feel fully embraced by his home-city club. He did, though, go to Brunton Park one last time over Christmas, even if his frailty did not enable him to stay to watch the match.

He was, by this stage, more comfortable in his chair, at home, in Linstock, where he had moved in with daughter Gill and son-in-law Colin. The television was regularly tuned to the football. As a thrustful attacker, he did not appreciate the polished Premier League’s patient, rearguard passing, but he still knew a player. Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva of Manchester City made Broadis’ eyes twinkle as he approached the end of his time.

He missed his peers, like Len Shackleton, and undoubtedly his wife, Joan, who married Broadis before a huge public turn-out in Carlisle in 1948, and who died in 1995. By two months he also survived his son, Mike, an excellent local journalist who had returned from his Crete home last October to see his father made a freeman of Carlisle.

That day, Broadis was handed a leather-bound scroll previously received by such as Field Marshal Montgomery and Woodrow Wilson. It was a belated but suitable gesture, since no football man had bestowed greater gravitas on the city; no representative of the people’s game here proved smarter, or more distinguished. He was our gem.