George Ross made more than 400 appearances in a Preston North End, but it was four minutes on the pitch with Tom Finney which is still vivid in his memory.
The full-back arrived at Deepdale as a 15-year-old in 1958 and remembers how Finney was one of the senior North End players to take him under his wing.
He played alongside him just the once, in a post-season trip to Switzerland, and is thankful that he did.
Ross (pictured right), who is chairman of the North End Former Players’ Association, told the Evening Post: “The news of Sir Tom’s passing has left me in bits. I’m numb.
“He was a great footballer and a great man.
“My memories of Sir Tom go back to when I was a nervous 15-year-old arriving from Scotland to join the Preston groundstaff – that’s what the apprentices were called then.
“Sir Tom and Tommy Docherty would look out of the younger lads like myself, Alan Spavin and Peter Thompson.
“When the first-team players finished training, they would come and watch the young lads train.
“For us, that was simply magnificent, a real feather in our cap.
“At the end of a season when Sir Tom was coming towards the end of his career, Preston went on a tour of Switzerland to play a few friendlies. North End took Peter Thompson and myself along for experience.
“I was 16 at the time, and to be mixing with the first-team players was magnificent.
“I was in the same cab to Manchester Airport with Tom and he chatted away with me like I was one of his team-mates – that was beyond my wildest dreams.
“In one of the games we played in Switzerland, I got on as a substitute for the last four minutes.
“It was the one and only time I played in the same team as Sir Tom, and I’m honoured to say that I did.
“Sir Tom was a hero of mine.
“I had a lot of contact with him through our roles in the Former Players’ Association.
“I would think that Deepdale will be packed for the Leyton Orient game – that would be a fitting tribute to the man.”