FORMER Latics favourite Jim Fryatt has passed away at his home in Las Vegas at the age of 79.

The striker arrived at Boundary Park from Blackburn Rovers for £8,000 in 1970 and would go on to score 42 goals in 81 appearances for Oldham.

Originally from Southampton, Fryatt's 18-year playing career would also see him play for Southend, Bradford Park Avenue and Stockport County among others.

His later career would take him to the North American Soccer League, where he settled having lived in Las Vegas since 1976.

Known as 'Pancho', the frontman spent 21 months with Latics and is fondly remembered by supporters for his starring role under Jimmy Frizzell.

Fryatt scored 24 goals as Oldham won promotion from the Fourth Division in the 1970/71 season. Strike partner David Shaw also scored 23 as Latics also won the short-lived Ford Sporting League, netting the club £70,000 to spend on improvements at Boundary Park.

"Our heartfelt condolences go out to the whole Fryatt family and Jim's friends during this sad time," a Latics statement read. "A memorable player of a certain generation of supporter who were luckily enough to witness his talents in person, and as a result will never be forgotten."

While Fryatt was a keen golfer his son Ed, born in Rochdale in 1971, turned professional and featured in major championships.

Other former clubs also paid tribute following his passing.

"It is with great sadness that we have learnt of the passing of Port legend Jim Fryatt," Southport said in a statement, the striker having scored 39 goals in 141 appearances for the club across two spells.

"Our thoughts and condolences are with Jim's family and loved ones at this time."

Fryatt was at one point credited with the fastest ever goal in a Football League game, scoring for Bradford Park Avenue against Tranmere Rovers after just four seconds.

Stockport fan Gordon Cundill was a regular visitor to the USA to see Fryatt.

He told County's website: “Jim was an iconic figure with County fans during the 1960s and his partnership with Bill Atkins has rightly gone down in Edgeley Park folklore.

"He was always an entertaining and charming host whenever I went to visit him and Val at his home in Vegas and he will be sadly missed by his family and friends.”