TRIBUTES have been paid to the Life President of Manchester City, Bernard Halford.

The 77-year-old who became a firm friend of Borders football in his latter years died earlier this week.

Bernard oversaw hundreds of transfers during his 39 years as secretary of Manchester City.

He was also heavily involved in the community side of the club he'd supported all his life, as well as playing a key part in setting up the City Academy.

Despite rubbing shoulders with most of the world's greatest footballers, for Bernard nobody could touch Selkirk's Bobby Johnstone.

And it was their great friendship that first brought the father-of-four north of the border in 2003 as Manchester City officially opened the Bobby Johnstone Memorial Pavilion at Yarrow Park.

Bernard became a regular visitor to the town to talk at dinners, take in a match, and reminisce about his great friend and best-man Bobby.

He was also instrumental in organising Manchester City's first ever Burns Supper with his Selkirk friends providing the speeches and recitals at the Etihad Stadium - an event where then-new manager Roberto Mancini was first introduced to supporters.

Bernard also brought the Manchester City Academy team to also play against Selkirk, and earlier this season, despite his illness, travelled with a Legends team for another friendly.

He also helped launch the official Manchester City Tartan at Lochcarron on a previous visit.

Former Selkirk FC chairman Craig Douglas told us: "Bernard was an absolute gentleman and someone I was extremely proud to call a friend.

"His passion for football and his knowledge of the game were unfathomable.

"He always talked of his regret at not coming up to Selkirk sooner, but he certainly made up for it.

"He loved reminiscing about watching Bobby play and how they became such good friends.

"Bernard became a hugely popular figure with everyone involved in football up here.

"Our condolences go out to Bernard's wife Karen and the rest of the family - he will be deeply, deeply missed."

In 2010 Bernard was made Life President of Manchester City.

The following year, having only seen City win just one trophy during his tenure as secretary, Bernard was invited to lift the FA Cup after the Blues beat Stoke City 1-0 at Wembley.

And he remains the only non-player to be inducted into the club's Hall of Fame.

On his visit to Yarrow Park earlier this season Bernard was presented with an Honorary Membership of Selkirk FC.

Following the award, he told us: "I enjoy coming up to Selkirk so much and wish I could come a lot more.

"Every time I come to Selkirk everyone knows me and I treasure that.

"Bobby meant a lot to me and it is great to be in this clubroom surrounded by so many mementos of Bobby."

As well as regularly attending games and functions at Yarrow Park, Bernard was also guest speaker at Selkirk Rugby Club and also Gala Fairydean Rovers.

Fairydean Rovers secretary Graeme McIver, who hosted a question-and-answers evening with Bernard, told us: "Everyone associated with Gala Fairydean Rovers FC would like to offer up our heart-felt sympathies to Manchester City and Bernard’s family and friends.

"We were honoured to host Bernard here at Netherdale where we watched footage of Manchester City through the years and Bernard regaled us with stories from a lifetime in football.

"He was also kind enough to present us with a Manchester City strip signed by their Championship winning squad.

"We framed the jersey and it now hangs pride of place in our boardroom.

"My personal highlight following the event was getting the chance to spend some hours with Bernard and his great friend from Selkirk Craig Douglas.

"He counted as friends and contemporaries some of the genuine greats of British football - legendary figures such as Bill Shankly, Sir Matt Busby and Brian Clough and he had tales about them all.

"He spoke of the famous players he knew from the latter half of the 20th Century and of the more recent multi-millionaire stars who populate the Premier League.

"However, of all the hundreds of great footballers that he knew personally he held the greatest respect and warmth for his great friend, Bobby Johnstone from Selkirk.

"It was an honour and a privilege to meet Bernard. We won’t see his like again.”