The Irish FA is planning to pay tribute to its former international team captain Alan McDonald before tomorrow night’s friendly between Northern Ireland and Finland.
In June, the footballing community was rocked by news of the Rathcoole man’s sudden death, and fans are still mourning the loss of one of the game’s true gentlemen.
At the match, members of the Green and White Army will have an opportunity to hold their own, personal tribute. Alan’s son and brother will lead out the teams before the game, and a minute’s applause will echo around Windsor Park.
“Members of Alan’s family will be on the pitch and we are hoping to play the famous interview Alan gave after the England match over the PA system around 7.30pm, before kick-off,” said the IFA’s Head of Marketing, Geoff Wilson. “We also have a dedicated section in the match programme with various tributes. It will be very emotional, but we spoke to a lot of supporters’ clubs and they all want to pay their respects.”
He added: “We would like fans to be in Windsor Park by 7:25pm, so they can pay their respects and give his family a special moment to remember.”
Gary McAlister of the Amalgamation of Northern Ireland Supporters’ Clubs, commented: “Alan gave tremendous service to the Northern Ireland team and remained a passionate supporter long after his playing career came to an end. The tribute before the Finland game will allow us all to show our appreciation. I know that many fans travel from across the country to get to Windsor Park, but I would ask everyone to make a special effort just this once to try and get to the stadium for 7:30pm, so that the tribute can be a fitting one.”