Ryan McBride: A lost leader

Robbie Ryan

What more can be said about the loss of Ryan McBride?

An endless flow of tributes poured in from all walks of people connected to our league.

Even from across the Irish Sea; clubs like Celtic and Arsenal and players like Robbie Fowler, Chris Sutton and of course admirably proud Derry man, James McClean has all paid their condolences.

But as touching as these messages were, the truth is there are no words to fittingly describe the level of this tragedy.

This is not the first time this club has suffered heartache. They are still coming to terms with the Buncrana Pier tragedy which claimed midfielder Josh Daniels’ mother, sister, brother in-law and two of his nephews. And of course the loss of the legendary Mark Farren still weighs heavy on their hearts. Before the prolific goal scorer’s passing, countless players, managers and fans organised donations and charity events to aid in financing his medical bills. That is one of the great things about this league: the united community spirit. It also makes it harder to get our heads around something like this.

Our players are certainly not making millions like our premiership counterparts. They do not live in mansions with seven sports cars parked outside. Ryan McBride lived within walking distance to the Brandywell. Players are on a first name basis with most of the crowd. Ryan McBride would have seen family and friends in the stands as he led his excellent side into battle. They become our heroes without reaching celebrity status. Therefore, Ryan McBride may not get the hour long documentary on Sky Sports that he deserves, but he will not be forgotten. Derry City football club, like the city itself, has shown us time and time again their strength and togetherness in overcoming hard times. They truly honour their heroes.

The rest of the league will not let his memory pass either. That is the least we can do. Being a league of Ireland player certainly is not an easy life. From the stands, we can only pray that our team one day is blessed to have a player who cares for the club as much as we do, a player who will give his heart and soul every time he puts on the jersey. That was Ryan McBride. He gave everything. He didn’t do 99%. That was a quote from his manager, Kenny Shiels, before overwhelming grief stole any further words from his mouth.

Any Irish boys and girls aspiring to play football should be shown that wonderful clip (below) were he took out two players with one tackle. They should observe the pride and joy in his eyes every time he scored for his club. That is how he played. That is why he will be sorely missed. But the entire league of Ireland family will ensure he is never forgotten.

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