Tributes paid to local football legend Gordon McNeill

Gordon McNeill
Gordon McNeill
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A legend of local football, who was involved in the same club for more than 56 years, has died at the age of 77.

Tributes have been paid to Cottesmore Amateurs Football Club stalwart Gordon McNeill, known to his friends and teammates as Mac, who joined the club in 1957.

He went on to make more than 400 appearances as goalkeeper for the Amateurs over 20 years.

Gordon joined the club’s committee in 1963 and became treasurer in 1966, a position he held until his death.

Gordon, who lived in Snowdon Avenue, Oakham, was married to Mary and leaves his son Andrew, daughter Christine and granddaughter Georgia. He died on December 23 following a short illness.

Former teammate, friend and club chairman Allan Westray, who joined Cottesmore at the same time as Gordon, described him as a “shining example of loyalty”.

Allan, 73, said: “Mac was a very, very good friend of mine.

“People said for a lot of years we were like Pinky and Perky.

“He was the sort of guy who was always there and always reliable. He was Cottesmore through and through.

“He will be sorely missed by everyone at the club.”

Gordon was born in Musselburgh, Scotland, before moving to Rutland with his family. Despite leaving at a young age, Gordon was a proud Scot, which earned him the nickname Aggie, in reference to haggis, in his earlier days at the club.

He worked as a clerk at RAF Cottesmore, now Kendrew Barracks, before retiring.

In 2011, the future of Cottesmore Amateurs was in doubt after the club’s pavilion and storage shed was destroyed in an arson attack. Thousands of pounds of equipment, including lawnmowers, goal posts and a generator used to power the club’s floodlights were destroyed in the fire.

Thanks to the help of supporters and local businesses, the club managed to get back up and running, and Allan paid tribute to Gordon’s efforts in its recovery.

Allan added: “Our full recovery is still ongoing but we’ve raised more than £35,000 and much of that is thanks to Mac.

“He had his hands on the purse strings and was very organised as a treasurer.

“He really has been an unsung hero for us.”

Gordon’s widow, Mary, said: “Gordon will be missed dearly by all his family and friends.

“He was loved very much by all.”

Arguably his greatest achievement as a player was being part of the Cottesmore team which won the local treble in 1959/60 - the Rutland League championship, the Rutland Benevolent Cup and Ketton Charity Cup.

Following his death, the Leicestershire Football Association tweeted: “The thoughts of everyone at County FA are with Gordon’s family.”

Friends and family are set to gather at his funeral, which takes place at All Saints Church, Oakham, on Monday, January, 13 at midday.

Do you have fond memories of Gordon? If so, e-mail the newsdesk