Altrincham Football Club is mourning the loss of its president and former chairman, Noel White.

Mr White passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning following a long illness. He was 89.

Mr White (vice-chairman) and his business partner, Peter Swales (chairman), took over at Altrincham in 1961, with the club at a low ebb and fighting for its existence.

They succeeded in transforming the Robins into a powerhouse in the Cheshire League and gained national recognition for reaching the FA Cup third round in 1966, bowing out at Wolverhampton Wanderers. Mr Swales moved on to Manchester City in 1967 and Mr White became chairman. During the next 19 years he led the club to its most successful period in its history, most notably for heroic FA Cup giant-killing runs that saw the Cheshire side draw at Everton and Tottenham Hotspur, take on the then European Cup holders, Liverpool at Anfield, before becoming only the second non-league side to win at a top-flight ground, when Alty were victorious at Birmingham City in 1986.

Current director Bill Waterson said: “His record of success over a period of a quarter of a century makes him, without doubt, Altrincham FC’s greatest ever club man and everyone connected with the club sends their condolences to Noel’s wife, Jean & family.”

In 1986 White joined Liverpool as a director and went on to become chairman and one of five founding architects of the FA Premier League. He also had a long and successful career with the FA, including being responsible for appointing six England managers in his role as chairman of the FA International Committee between 1994 and 2008.

His contribution to football was recognised in 2013 with a British Empire Medal.