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Tributes paid to hugely talented Dundee junior footballer Ryan Blair, 25, after sudden death

Ryan Blair, 25, while playing for Broughty Athletic
Ryan Blair, 25, while playing for Broughty Athletic

Tributes have flooded in for a talented Dundee junior footballer who has tragically passed away.

Downfield FC player Ryan Blair, 25, was found dead in the morning on Hogmanay.

His mum Tracey Samson has paid tribute, describing the dad-of-one as “football daft”.

She added: “Football and his family were his world.”

The huge Glasgow Rangers fan was considered one of the best defenders at junior level in the city.

Hundreds of people who knew Ryan have spoken of their shock and sadness after hearing the news.

The jovial left-back played for various sides in the city including Broughty Athletic, Lochee United, and most recently Downfield.

His former clubs have paid tribute to the self-employed steel fixer who worked alongside brother Paul.

Friend Sean Donaldson, who is the club photographer and social media manager at Broughty Athletic, said Ryan was the “cheeky guy in the team”.

Ryan Blair

Sean, 47, said: “He was always up for a laugh. He was the guy tripping people up and throwing balls at the back of his team mate’s heads.

“He had such a great smile and was likeable and lovable. He was just such a great young laddie.

“He had his whole life ahead of him and will be tragically missed.”

He added Ryan was “probably the best left back in the city” at junior level.

“He should have been professional. I remember when he signed for us. The manager at Broughty, Keith Gibson, spotted his potential when he was playing for NCR Amateurs.

“He made the jump up and was just such a natural footballer. We knew straight away we had one of the hottest properties.”

Downfield Juniors paid tribute online, saying: “All at Downfield JFC are devastated to hear the sad news of defender Ryan Blair passing away. Although not long with the club Ryan became a treasured team mate and friend of all at the club. Our thoughts are with Ryan’s family.”

A spokesperson for Lochee United added: “Everyone at Lochee United are devastated to hear of the sudden passing of former player Ryan Blair.

“Ryan was a well respected teammate and friend to everyone associated with the club. Our thoughts are with his family at this extremely sad time. RIP Ryan…Thanks for the memories.”

He leaves behind mum Tracey, girlfriend Becky Wilson, six-year-old daughter Ava, brother Paul, and sisters Ellis and Grace.

He also leaves behind many friends at his former clubs including close pals Kevin Milne and Greig McNaughton.

Under the tragic circumstances, it's only fitting we get some photos out there of young Ryan Blair, so people can look…

Posted by Broughty Athletic JFC on Thursday, 31 December 2020

He attended Brackens Primary School and St Paul’s RC Academy.

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