Crusaders pay tribute to lifelong fan who died at Cup game in Scotland

Crusaders FC
Crusaders FC

Crusaders have paid tribute to a lifelong fan who died suddenly at their Irn-Bru Challenge Cup game against Cove Rangers in Scotland.

In a statement issued on the club's website, Crusaders said Billy Whiteside, father of Seaview treasurer Tommy, fell ill and collapsed in the course of Saturday's game at Station Park in Forfar.

"Despite the best efforts of medical practitioners at the stadium, and by the ambulance service, he could not be resuscitated. The game was paused and players left the field," the Crues' statement read.

Stephen Bell, chairman of the Shore Road club, said: "Billy was a lifelong supporter from a strong Crusaders family.

"He was telling us just today that he first came to Seaview with his father in the 1949-50 season, Crusaders' first season in the senior Irish League.

"Billy has been a good humoured jocular presence at Seaview (and across all the league's grounds) ever since. He has also travelled with the club across Europe.

"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."

Crusaders goalkeeper Sean O'Neill offered his condolences, tweeting: "Such sad news about Billy Whiteside today. A gentleman who was Crusaders to the core! #R.I.PBilly #CrusadersFamily