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Northern Irish fan who died during Angus cup trip to be honoured by beloved club

Mr Whiteside's passing will be marked appropriately at the next Crusaders home fixture.
Mr Whiteside's passing will be marked appropriately at the next Crusaders home fixture.

A Northern Irish football club will pay tribute to a lifelong fan who died suddenly at Forfar Athletic’s Station Park on Saturday.

William Whiteside, 73, known as Billy, was “Crusaders to the core” and suffered a suspected heart attack on the terraces at the Irn-Bru Challenge Cup game.

The Northern Irish club were taking on Cove Rangers in Forfar when he collapsed and passed away despite the best efforts of paramedics.

His club is planning to honour Mr Whiteside’s loyalty at its next game.

Chairman Stephen Bell said: “Billy was a lifelong supporter from a strong Crusaders family.

“On behalf of the club, I would like to thank the efforts of the medical and ambulance staff.

“It’s a sad day for our club, but it will be a comfort that Billy passed away surrounded by friends.

“Billy will be sorely missed and we would convey our condolences to our esteemed treasurer, Tommy, and the entire family circle.

“Billy’s passing will be marked appropriately at our next home fixture.”

Mr Whiteside.

Mr Whiteside travelled to Forfar for the match with his son Tommy and grandson Matthew, 10, who had been mascot at the match.

A spokesman for Forfar Athletic FC said: “All connected with Forfar Athletic Football Club would wish to pass on their deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Crusaders fan Billy Whiteside.

“As ever it brought football into perspective. The club would also like to thank the medical staff who were on duty at the game, those who volunteered their services from the crowd and also the Scottish Ambulance personnel for their speedy response.

“Sadly all their efforts were to no avail.”

Originally from Sailortown, Mr Whiteside was a third generation docker before training as an electrician and he later became a publican.

Mr Whiteside attended his first match in 1949 with his father, Thomas, who was also a Crusaders’ fan.

He was a distant cousin of former Northern Ireland and Manchester United player Norman Whiteside.

Son Tommy, treasurer of Crusaders, paid tribute to the “family man” who “lived for the team”.

He said: “When he arrived at my house at 6am on Saturday morning he was in great form and couldn’t wait to get there.

“He just loved the club.”

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