A FORMER Swans star who was once a trailblazing apprentice down Vetch Field has passed away.
Talented midfielder Geoff Thomas played 357 league games for Swansea City Football Club between 1965 and 1976, scoring 52 goals along the way.
A former captain of Swansea Schoolboys, he became one of the first apprentices at the Vetch in the early 1960s.
He later became a Mumbles Cricket Club stalwart as both a player and groundsman.
He died on Sunday following a long illness.
Swans chairman Huw Jenkins said: "It's always sad to lose a member of the Swans family especially when that person gave so much to the club as a player.
"Having played an incredible 357 league games for the club there's no doubt he was an influential member of the Swans over a number of years.
"He was a well known and loved member of the local community going on to play in the Swansea league when he hung up his boots at the Vetch.
"Our condolences go out to his family and friends."
John Blyth, from Mumbles Cricket Club, a close friend, said: "He came to the club after hanging up his football boots and started off playing before taking up the groundsman duties.
"He was a club legend on and off the field, well liked by everybody.
"He will be sorely missed, he's irreplaceable."
Tributes have started to come in from the Jack Army with supporters posting on fans' forums.
Whiterockin said: "So sad, one of my all-time favourite Swans, a fully committed player who gave everything."
Herefordjack added: "Very sad news, one of my boyhood heroes.
He scored one of the best goals I ever saw down at the Vetch, think it was against Hereford in the Welsh Cup funnily enough, because Hereford is where I've ended up. It was a piledriver shot from outside the area. He could hit 'em."
Another post read: "There goes one of the best players to play for the Swans with a bullet of a shot."
Mr Thomas, who lived in Mumbles, leaves three grown-up sons, Lee, Carl and Jamie.