Tributes have poured in to a legendary Blackburn Rovers fan from Accrington who died suddenly aged 53.

Paul Astley  missed just five games in nearly 40 years of loyalty to the club.

He was found dead in his Blackburn home from a suspected heart attack.

He organised coaches to away games for the ‘Accy Branch’ of supporters and worked alongside the club to run official transport to away games.

He was due to begin a new career as a driving instructor in May.

Mr Astley was born in Accrington, where his parents ran  Astley’s Furniture Shop on Blackburn Road, and attended Accrington Grammar School.

Barry Cunliffe, 54, travelled with Mr Astley to every away game for years.

Mr Cunliffe said: “He lived and breathed Blackburn Rovers. It was all he wanted to talk about.

“I think that was one of the reasons why he never got married – he just loved the club more than he could have loved any woman.”

Mr Cunliffe said that their last conversation had been about getting tickets to Rovers’ clash with Everton last Saturday.

He said: “I will miss him at every game. I missed him on  Saturday because that was the first time in years that he hadn’t come to pick me up for an away match.

“It was very hard watching without him,” Mr Cunliffe said.

Nowaz Khan, 55, who travelled to away games with Mr Astley and Mr Cunliffe, said: “I really didn’t feel like going to the Everton game but then we started joking that if
the three of us had died the only thing Paul would have done would be to text everyone and say there are three tickets free to the Everton game.

 “He was a generous and decent guy.”

A memorial message board has been set up on the Rovers Mad fansite, attracting dozens of comments from other supporters to the man who posted as Roverite1.

One wrote: “The bloke was 100 per cent Rovers and as everybody else has said a more dedicated fan will be hard to find.”

The club said a tribute to Mr Astley would be printed in the programme for Monday night’s game against Manchester City.