BURY centenarian Arthur Hoyle Smith could be the oldest living former Football League player.

The 101-year-old great grandad, who turns 102 next month, played for Bury and Leicester City in the 1930s before his footballing career was curtailed by the Second World War.

His name came top of a recent search, conducted by National Football Museum archivist Peter Holme for the English National Football Archive website.

Mr Holme said: "The National Football Museum has contacts with football club historians throughout the country and around 90 emails were sent out to these experts.

"There was a great response and two ex-players over 100 years old emerged.

"The oldest of these was Arthur Hoyle Smith."

The archive's file on Arthur, who was born May 8, 1915, shows he first played for Bury Coop before signing as an amateur for Bury FC on November 10, 1934.

He made his debut on December 15 that year, aged 19, against Notts County in the Second Division and played three more times that season before signing as a professional on September 23, 1935 on a wage of £4 per week.

Arthur played regularly in the reserves over the next two seasons, but never featured for the first team again and was eventually released to join Leicester City on a free transfer in 1938.

In his first season at Leicester he played eight times in the first team and made a good start to the 1939-40 campaign, playing in the first two games and scoring twice against Manchester City before the league programme was cancelled after war broke out.

There were regional wartime leagues and a War Cup and he played five games for Leicester in 1940-41, but while Arthur was registered for Leicester until 1946 he never played another game.

While his playing days were over, Arthur went on to make his mark in his hometown of Walmersley, spending 80 years as organist and choirmaster at Christ Church.

He started as a choirboy at the church aged seven and only retired as organist on his 100th birthday.

His dedication to the church earned Arthur the British Empire Medal, while he remains a dedicated father-of-two to Roger Smith and Vivien Rigby, as well as a grandad and great-grandad.

"My dad is not the sort to like a fuss being made," said Vivien.

"His view is he only played a handful of games and did nothing special.

"Sadly, the war intervened and he had to finish playing after joining the Army, but he continued to be a keen sportsman and loves his golf.

"We are all obviously very proud of him for everything he has done in his life.

"Bury FC have kept in touch as well and even sent him a card on his 100th birthday."