A legend of two West Cumbrian clubs has died aged 87.

Whitehaven-born Bill Robson Snr, who made his mark on both Workington Reds and Whitehaven AFC, passed away on Wednesday.

He was one of the Reds players who took to Borough Park on January 4 1958 to play against the famous Manchester United Busby Babes in one of the most memorable games in the club’s history.

The third-round FA Cup tie took place weeks before British European Airways flight 609, which was carrying the talented young team, crashed while attempting to take off from Munich-Riem Airport in West Germany.

Bill also founded Whitehaven AFC, served as president since 1994 and was heavily involved with the club alongside his son and grandson.

A tribute from Reds said: “A tenacious inside forward who was a prolific scorer, Billy became a Workington player during our final season in the North Eastern League (1950/51) and continued representing the club throughout our first eight seasons in the Football League.

“He became a Carlisle United player after nine seasons at Borough Park, although he often claimed it was a reluctant move to the north of the county.

“Then, after a distinguished Football League career, he switched to non-league Netherfield where he guided the Kendal club to title success in the Lancashire Combination during a very successful spell as player/manager.

“His playing days ended back in Whitehaven with the Haig Colliery team.

“In recent years, he supported Whitehaven Amateurs where he was heavily involved with his son and grandson.

“The highlight of his Workington career was playing against Manchester United in front of 21,000 fans at Borough Park in 1958 but, other than that, he often recalled some wonderful stories of his time with the club.

“He scored 60 goals in 141 competitive matches for the first team, including Football League hat-tricks against Mansfield Town, Darlington and Gateshead.

“In addition, Billy netted five hat-tricks playing for the Reserves in the North Eastern League including one four goal blast against Consett in a tally of 72.

“Just two months ago, Billy attended the legends day at Borough Park and actually made it onto the pitch for one last time.

“We send our condolences to the Robson family.”

A tribute from Whitehaven said: “Bill was a gentleman and true football man whose infectious wit, personality and enthusiasm towards the amateur game in Cumbria had a profound effect on all those around him.”

Respects were set to be paid to Bill Robson at last night’s annual pre-season friendly between Reds and Whitehaven for the Shaun Hocking Memorial Trophy.