Aubrey Powell

Last updated : 30 January 2009 By Kevin Markey
Aubrey Powell, who signed for the club in 1935, scored 25 goals in 114 league appearances during his career at Leeds United.

The Welsh-born star, who won several international caps, was forced to retire from football in 1951 after developing severe arthritis.

But despite playing for several other clubs, including Everton and Birmingham City, the player returned to United with his Beeston-born wife Mabel.

He lived in the city for the rest of his life, regularly attending matches and coaching at Leeds Ashley Road in the 1960s.

His youngest son Keith, 61, said: "He loved football, he loved Leeds and he loved playing for Leeds United. He was a very popular player.

"He was a very happy person, very contented with his life. He was also extremely proud of his Welsh heritage and he spoke Welsh fluently.

"Leeds was definitely his home from home and he continued supporting the club until he died. He was also a devoted family man."

Mr Powell, who played inside-forward, was spotted by Leeds United scouts while playing football for a side near his home in Glamorgan, South Wales.

In 1937, he broke his leg during a match at Preston North End, but then went on to defy doctors' predictions and formed a successful partnership with David Cochrane.

When war broke out, he became an army PT instructor, stationed in North Yorkshire, Hull and Belgium.

After the war, he returned to Leeds, before moving to Everton for £11,000 - one of the highest transfer figures of the day - in 1948.

But his horrific injury is believed to have caused the onset of severe arthritis, which forced him to quit his beloved game at the age of 33.

He settled in the Halton Moor area of Leeds and worked for two confectionary wholesalers until he retired at the age of 65.

Eddie Roberts, of Richmond, North Yorkshire, became firm friends with
Mr Powell after writing to him to ask for an autograph.

He said: "He was absolutely my hero. I used to write to him from my home in Anglesey and I would always get a response.

"We lost touch for a while but then we became friends again when I found him in Leeds.

"He was a smashing bloke. I always used to get on so well with him.

"I really thought the world of him, both as a footballer and as a man."

Mr Powell spent the last few months of his life at The Cedars care home in Methley, where he died peacefully on Tuesday, leaving behind Mabel, 91, sons Keith and Roger, 64, grandchildren Anthony, Sarah, Emma and Becky and great-grandsons Tom and Harry.

His funeral will take place at Lawnswood Crematorium on Wednesday, with donations to Arthritis Research.