Archie Gibson, the former Leeds United wing-half who died on Tuesday aged 78, lived for football and lived for his family.
Born in Ayrshire in 1933 he came to Elland Road from the Scottish junior leagues in 1951, blazing a trail between north and south which would be followed in later years by Billy Bremner, Eddie Gray, Peter Lorimer and several others.
He arrived as an inside forward but became a regular in the United’s team after reinventing himself as a right-half. Gibson amassed 174 appearances in nine years at Leeds, rubbing shoulders with John Charles and Don Revie.
He was famously the first United player to be sent off in a Football League fixture against West Bromwich Albion in 1958. His crime was a brawl with Albion’s Derek Hogg who also received his marching orders.
Gibson left for Scunthorpe United after Leeds were relegated in 1960 and gave four years of outstanding service to the Iron, captaining the club and averaging 35 appearances a season. After his retirement he remained in Scunthorpe and appropriately took up a job in the steel industry.
He was a family man with grandchildren who doted on him. Gibson’s daughter-in-law, Dalaney, said: “They idolised him and he loved them. Everything was football, football, football.
“He was so proud of his career and he had a suitcase of mementos in the attic. When the time’s right we’ll go through them but it’ll be fascinating to look back on everything.”
Writing on an Internet blog, Gibson’s grandson Ross said: “As a youngster I dreamed of being a footballer and luckily I had my granddad to look up to. I remember asking him for a kick-around, expecting it to be with a full-sized football.
“He made sure we played with a tennis ball because in his words ‘that’s all I had to train with when I was a youngster.’ He in a sense was my idol.”
Gibson passed away in Scunthorpe after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. His funeral will be held at Scunthorpe Crematorium on Monday, August 6 at 1pm.