Alan Welsh, a big fans’ favourite during a vintage period in Torquay United’s history, has died at the age of 73.

Edinburgh-born Welsh scored 50 goals in 161 appearances as a winger or striker from 1967-72, mostly years when United under Frank O’Farrell and Allan Brown were a force in the old Third Division (League One).

He was signed by O’Farrell on a free transfer from Millwall in November 1967 and, even though he was only 20, Torquay fans found it hard to believe that the Lions had much better than him at The Den.

Blessed with skill, awareness and a fierce shot, he could play anywhere in attack except, at 5ft 9ins, centre-forward.

Barring injuries, he was a regular pick in Torquay teams pushing for promotion for the next four years, and his entertaining play was matched by his friendliness off the pitch.

He was top scorer with 14 goals when United were finally relegated back to the Fourth Division in 1972, which prompted Plymouth Argyle to buy him for £15,000.

He was just as popular during two years at Home Park, where he scored 18 goals in 81 games before Bournemouth bought him for £30,000.

After one season back at Millwall, Welsh joined Cape Town City in 1976 and spent nine years in South Africa before returning to settle in London, where he worked in the Lions’ lottery office for a while.