Tributes have poured in for Manchester City 'life president' Bernard Halford, after the long-time club secretary passed away at the age of 77.
The news was revealed on the club's official website, with a statement explaining: "Manchester City Life President Bernard Halford has sadly passed away at the age of 77.
"Former long-serving Club secretary, Bernard had been suffering from ill-health for some time but continued to be a regular visitor at the CFA and the Club he loved up until his final days.
"By his own admittance, Bernard 'ate, slept and breathed' City – in fact, his nickname over the years was indeed ‘Mr Manchester City’."
Man City Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak was one of the first to offer his condolonces, declaring: “The loss of Bernard Halford marks an extremely sad day for our football club.
“Bernard was an incredibly dedicated, loyal and wonderful part of the City story for almost five decades. I was fortunate and privileged enough to know him for ten of those years.
“In reflecting on his life, I am reminded of the enormous pride he – and we - took from him being able to realise a boyhood dream by lifting the FA Cup in 2011. It was a special moment not only for Bernard, but for everybody connected with Manchester City.
“He is irreplaceable, and we will ensure that his legacy lives on. Our thoughts are with his wife Karen and his family at this most difficult time.”
Citizens boss Pep Guardiola proclaimed: “It is such sad news to hear of Bernard Halford’s passing.
“It was an honour and a privilege to meet and talk football with him and his knowledge of this football club was amazing. He was a great man, but moreover, he was also a great football man with a complete understanding of the game from grass roots level up.
“His whole life was dedicated to the game, but mostly to Manchester City and we were lucky to have him.”
A number of former City players also spoke out about the great man, with Shay Given tweeting: "Sad to hear the news that Bernard Halford, my old secretary at Man City, has passed away. Thoughts and prayers with his family."
West Ham full-back Pablo Zabaleta, who spent nine years at City, said: "Mr Halford was there when I first joined City and he was always fantastic with me. He could never do enough to help you and I always held him in the highest esteem.
"It was fantastic to see him lift the FA Cup and then win the Premier League. He was a true gentleman and today is a sad day for Manchester City."