Oxford City have announced the death of their longest-serving chairman after a fight with illness.

Brian Cox has died aged 83 the football club has confirmed after serving as chairman for more than 20 years.

The club described him as a "hugely popular figure" in football across Oxfordshire and someone who worked "tirelessly" for the club. 

Having signed for Headington United, he was forced to retire as a player aged just 19 before taking to coaching.

He especially coached in youth football, playing the part in hundreds of young footballer's lives for over 25 years.

A highlight for him was a win for his young Oxford City side at Wembley in 1995, beating Arlesey before the FA Vase final. 

In 2003 he took over as chairman and has been described as a "huge loss" to the club by owner Justin Merritt.

He said: “Brian was Mr Oxford City, he dedicated much of his life to the club and to football in Oxfordshire and will be sorely missed by everyone associated with Oxford City FC.

“Brian would be onsite nearly every day and whether it was watching any type of football, working tirelessly on stadium repairs and jobs or hosting the guests in the boardroom he would always have a smile or kind word to offer.

“He guided the club through some difficult times but always with honesty, dignity and an enormous pride in the club’s history and vision for the future.

“He had fought very bravely against illness and he will be a huge loss to us as a football club.

"Our thoughts are with his family.” 

Oxford City manager, Ross Jenkins said he was "extremely proud" that his chairman was able to see the Hoop's grab promotion to the National League last year, the highest their the club has reached in its history.

He said: "Brian was a true gentleman and was loved by everyone her Oxford city

“What he’s done for the club over the years has been nothing short of remarkable.

“I had the great pleasure of being around Brian on a daily basis, sharing stories, talking about football and watching him get stuck into jobs around the ground at his age was truly inspirational.

“I’m extremely proud that Brian got to enjoy and celebrate last season’s promotion as he’s played a massive part in this club’s progression over the years on and off the pitch long before I joined the club.

“Every great club has a great man behind the scenes, and Brian was certainly that man.

“Brian is, and will forever be a club legend in my eyes.

“He will be greatly missed by everyone at Oxford City football club.”