Published Saturday, 23 June 2012
Tributes are pouring in for former Northern Ireland captain Alan McDonald. (© Pacemaker)
The Belfast man, who spent most of his playing career with Queens Park Rangers, passed away suddenly on Saturday morning.
He collapsed while playing golf at Temple Golf Course in Co Down.
McDonald was capped 52 times for Northern Ireland and featured in their 1986 World Cup campaign in Mexico.
He resigned as Glentoran manager in February 2010, having been at the helm of the Oval club since June 2007.
Former colleagues, fans and current players have been expressing their shock at the news.
In a brief statement, local football's governing body said: "The Irish FA is saddened by this morning's news of the sudden death of Alan McDonald. Our thoughts are with his family at this time.
A true gentleman and Northern Ireland legend.
A Glentoran spokesman added: "Everyone connected with Glentoran FC was devastated to hear of the untimely death earlier today of former manager Alan McDonald.
"On behalf of the President, Chairman, Board of Directors, staff, players and supporters, we extend our deepest sympathy to Alan's wife Tonya, his son Joshua, and the whole family circle."
QPR said everyone at the club was "desperately saddened" by the loss of a long-time crowd favourite.
"The club would like to extend its deepest condolences to Alan's family and friends at this sad time. May he rest in peace," a statement on the official website said.
Northern Ireland midfielder Chris Brunt was also among those paying tribute to McDonald and expressing his sympathy to the family.
"A great guy and will be missed by everyone," he said.
Former Northern Ireland international and Celtic manager Neil Lennon said he was saddened by the news.
"Big loss to N Irish football. Thoughts with his family," he said on Twitter.
The Amalgamation of Official Northern Ireland Supporters' Clubs was also stunned to learn of McDonald's sudden death.
Spokesman Gary McAllister said: "I'm sure I speak for all Northern Ireland fans when I say that we are totally dumbfounded by this news.
"Alan was admired by the fans for his total and absolute commitment to Northern Ireland as a player, and that passion always came across when he spoke about the team.
"He will be fondly remembered, sadly missed. We extend our sincere sympathy to Alan's loved ones at this very sad time."
Queens Park Rangers FC is desperately saddened to learn of the passing of former captain and assistant manager Alan McDonald.
Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín described McDonald as "a local football hero".
The Sinn Féin representative said: "Alan famously played in the team which drew 0-0 against England in 1985 to qualify for the World Cup finals and went onto to play in the Mexico '86 World Cup.
"He also made a major contribution to local soccer, leading Glentoran to victory in the Irish League. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him and my thoughts are with his family at this time."
Belfast DUP Lord Mayor Gavin Robinson added: "Alan was a much respected sportsman who excelled on the football pitch.
"On behalf of the citizens of Belfast, I extend our deepest sympathy to his family at this difficult time."
© UTV News