THE family of former rugby league player and pub landlord Allan Bishop have paid a touching tribute to him.

Allan, who was 71, died on Friday, April 3 after a short illness.

He leaves behind wife of 50 years June, daughters Karen and Lyndsey.

Daughter Lyndsey described Allan as a "proper family man" and a loving granddad to Jarrod and Jayden who he "doted on".

A former pupil at Rivington Road School, Allan signed for Saints from Parr Labour Club ARLFC for £1,000 on his 16th birthday in January 1965.

He became a stalwart for the A team and made his senior debut, against Huyton at Knowsley Road, on September 20, 1968.

Allan was also the younger brother of Saints' Tommy Bishop and they played alongside each other on Allan's debut.

He played eight competitive matches until April 1969 before he went to Blackpool Borough in 1970, where he became a firm favourite.

He served Blackpool Borough well, before joining Widnes and then was recruited by Geoff Fletcher at Huyton.

Allan was also a great family man, with a host of friends and would willingly talk about rugby league to anyone and was full of stories about his own career and the wide range of characters he had come across over the years.

Allan was also a popular member of the Saints’ Players Association.

Lyndsey said: "He was a proper family man, we were his life and he did everything with us, we are a very close family.

"He has gone far too soon and we're just upset that he's not going to get the send-off he deserves.

"He was well-liked and well-known and was very family-orientated."

He had worked originally for Phythian's butchers.

His later working life saw him become a landlord at the Phoenix Hotel in Canal Street, after his brother Tommy, the Bulls Head in Parr and the Globe Hotel behind the town hall.

He also worked at Triplex during his life.

Allan was also steward at the Sidac Social Club and was recently employed as a taxi driver, mostly working in Liverpool.

Lyndsey added: "We just want to thank everybody for the lovely comments. He was the best, one in a million.

"We are just devastated, he was the life and soul of everything and is a massive loss, it leaves a big hole in our hearts."