Colchester United are today mourning the death of one of their greatest-ever players, Vic Keeble.

He died with his family at his bedside, following a short illness.

He was 87.

Keeble's prolific scoring for Colchester United made him a club legend.

After signing amateur forms for U’s boss Ted Fenton a few weeks before his 17th birthday, Keeble bagged a hat-trick on his first-team debut for Colchester while still an amateur on the opening day of the 1947-48 season.

With his strength in the air as a target man, Keeble found the net for his home town club with lethal regularity between 1947 and 1952.

During his profitable five-year spell at Layer Road, the prolific centre-forward hit an incredible 65 goals in just 81 appearances.

The former Colchester Royal Grammar School pupil's goals helped Colchester win election from the Southern League to the expanded Football League Third Division South, in 1950.

Keeble’s prolific goalscoring for Colchester caught the eye of Newcastle United who in 1952 signed him for £15,000, a move worth £1m in today’s money.

He was the last surviving player from Newcastle United's FA Cup-winning teams of the 1950s and played in the 1955 final, which saw them beat Manchester City 3-1 at Wembley.

Keeble went on to play for West Ham United and helped the Hammers win the Second Division title before injury forced him to retire, in 1960.

After hanging up his boots, Keeble wrote a sports column and sold advertising for a Colchester newspaper for a number of years.

He then returned to the U’s to work for their commercial team before accepting a similar role at Chelmsford City, where he spent 11 years.

Up until recent years, Keeble was a regular at U's home games at both Layer Road and more latterly, the Weston Homes Community Stadium and also attended Former Players' Association functions.