A year this weekend, Thank you Mr QPR.
‘Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I’m very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much much important than that,’ Bill Shankly, Liverpool Manager.
Now there is no doubting that Bill Shankly is a football legend but in my humble opinion he is wrong in this quote.
A year ago this weekend one of QPR’s greatest Captains ever passed away at just forty eight years of age. He often said he’d either die on a football field or a golf course, strange how it came true.
Alan McDonald was and always will be ‘Mr QPR’ to me. I grew up watching him week in and week out, making challenges that sometimes were late or over the top. The thing is he never intended to hurt his opponent, he just let them know he was there and he would do his best to stop them getting past him.
I remember Clive Wilson was playing left back and ‘Macca’ came across and I have to say the language was colourful to say the least! It wasn’t so much the swearing but the way it was said, he gave everything for the team and the football club he loved.
‘Macca’ was a born leader and if you were in his team and didn’t give your all he’d certainly let you know in no uncertain terms and that was before the Manager got to you.
A memory I’ll never forget was at the end of Macca’s last season with the club; all the fans were on the pitch and the players came out onto the stand at South Africa Road. All the other players came out clapping hands to thank the fans for a great season of support but one player was missing; Captain Marvellous! After a few moments he appeared, he was crying his eyes out! Grown men, myself included, openly wept as he took hold of the microphone and spoke of his love for Queens Park Rangers!
I even wanted blonde hair at the time but that had something to do with Steve Wicks as well as Macca.
In my entire life I’ve seen football at both domestic and international level and I can happily put my hand on my heart say Macca played with the most passion; in fact I’m finding it hard to think of anyone that is close.
When I heard the news he had passed away I have to admit I was numb; almost as if it was a family member. That was Macca though; he went out of the way for fans. He realized what the fans did for the club and all he did was give back. Today’s footballers would get press coverage; Macca did it out of the kindness of his heart.
I've been lucky enough to get to know his daughter Courtney of whom I'm sure Macca is very proud of. The QPR family have come together as one and she has said it has helped soften the blow of losing her Dad by hearing all the stories. I've written this article with her permission and she's been kind enough to let us have some private pictures.
'We are the QPR family and we look after our own, RIP Macca, gone to soon but never forgotten,'
Paul Moore, QPR fan.
‘I came through the ranks with Macca from fourteen years old upwards. He was a genuine guy, great leader and close friend. He is greatly missed,’
Wayne ‘Wing Wizard’ Fereday.
‘I am privileged and honoured to not only have him as a role model as a player but also to know him as a personal friend. Once met, never forgotten,’
Gavin ‘Psycho’ Maguire
'Macca was one of the most honest and genuine lads I have ever played with. Great in the dressing room and one of those lads who was funny even when he wasn't trying to be funny. God bless him'
John 'budgie' Byrne
RIP Mr QPR