Although his first love was always his hometown club Oldham Athletic, Rostron became a great admirer of the Whites during the Don Revie years.
That interest was given a shot in the arm in 1970 when he watched Billy Bremner score the winning goal in an FA Cup semi-final second replay with Manchester United at Burnden Park in Bolton.
After a successful start to his career in newspapers, Rostron enjoyed 18 years on Fleet Street working for the Daily Express and was sports editor of the Daily Star when United won the First Division championship in 1992.
As a result he developed a close relationship with United manager Howard Wilkinson as the Whites embarked on their UEFA Cup campaign the following season and followed them closely as their fortunes took an upswing in the late 1990s.
So when the chance came to join the YEP as chief sports writer in 1999 it was an opportunity he could not turn down.
He charted the success of David O’Leary’s Whites as they climbed the Premier League table and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League after some unforgettable European nights.
When he became sports editor of the YEP in 2001 he also chronicled United’s relegation from the top flight and their deepening financial crisis as well as the golden generation of Leeds Rhinos as they took the first steps towards numerous Grand Final glories.
Along the way, Rostron wrote autobiographies with Barry Fry and good friend Peter Lorimer, the Leeds United legend and former YEP columnist, as well as books focused on the Whites including; Leeds United: Trials and Tribulations and We are the Damned United.
He was also a keen horse racing fan - penning another book on the great Sir Henry Cecil - and often attending the Cheltenham Festival, while he also enjoyed playing golf.
Former colleague and ex-YEP sports editor Mark Absolon said: “Phil had an incredible knowledge of sport and football in particular. His enthusiasm for journalism was infectious and he was in his element when out in the field building relationships with players, coaches and sporting administrators.
“He was a character, with a big smile and presence. He will be sadly missed.”
He leaves wife Caroline, daughters Jo, a former YEP reporter, Holly and son Gary.
His funeral takes place at Stonefall Crematorium, Harrogate on Monday, April 11 at 3.40pm.
Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. You’ll enjoy unlimited access to the latest on Leeds United and Leeds Rhinos. With our sports digital subscription, you’ll also see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get exclusive content. Click here to subscribe.