DEVASTATED DERRY CITY CHAIRMAN SAYS RYAN MCBRIDE WAS A ‘LEADER ON AND OFF THE PITCH’
THE chairman of Derry City Football Club has led a chorus of tributes following the sudden and tragic death of his team’s captain Ryan McBride.
The 27-year-old was found dead at the family home in Derry on Sunday evening by his father.
It is understood he sustained an injury during Saturday’s 4-0 win over Drogheda Utd but appeared to be alright afterwards.
A post mortem is expected to be carried out later today to determine the cause of death.
His sudden death has stunned the world of football.
Fans gathered last night outside the family at Bluebellhill Gardens which is just beside the Brandywell stadium.
Phil O’Doherty said the team is “devastated”.
“This news is so hard to take in,” said the Derry City chairman.
“He started the season so well and scored a really important goal against Shamrock Rovers recently.
“The players and management staff are in shock and it’s an extremely tough time for everyone.”
Mr O’Doherty said McBride “was a leader on and off the field”.
“He was incredibly respected. He was an ideal captain,” he said.
“He was from the Brandywell area and he just walked across the road to his home after every game.”
Ryan McBride’s death is the latest tragedy to rock the club following the death of striker Mark Farren and the Buncrana pier tragedy which claimed the lives of Josh Daniels’ family members a year ago.
Former Derry City striker Liam Coyle said: “My brother phoned me to tell me and I was in total disbelief.
“I played football with Ryan’s father and Ryan was always a rising star.
“Everybody loved Ryan’s attitude and the way he played. The club has been through a lot of tragedy but the people of Derry will provide a lot of support to his family and friends.
“Derry City has lost the best centre half in Ireland.”
The President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, tweeted: “Along with all those who support Irish football, I express my sadness and condolences to the family of Derry City Football Club captain Ryan McBride.”
Paul McGrath, former Ireland international footballer, also tweeted: “My thoughts are with the family, friends and club mates of Derry City captain Ryan McBride who has sadly passed away.”
Former Derry City player and current West Brom winger James McClean is expected to be given special dispensation to leave the Republic of Ireland training camp to attend Ryan’s funeral later this week.