I never met Stuart McGrady, I didn’t know him and I only found out about him by a simple text from former Queens park defender Barry Douglas, now playing at Polish side Lech Poznan.
Stuart was only 29 years of age and sadly passed away in his sleep last Saturday after playing for Junior side Maybole in a 3-0 win over Ardeer Thistle.
Sport, and in this case football, can bring people together from all walks of life, taking them on a journey of wonderful memories and friendships that last forever.
It’s like a family bond that can never be broken, when you share the same dressing room, put on the same colour strip and ride the roller coaster of highs and lows that the beautiful game delivers.
The passing of Hearts, Tottenham and Scotland legend Dave Mackay at 80 years of age this week sparked a groundswell of grief and nostalgia from friends and fans who remembered what a class act he was on and off the park.
Stuart McGrady never played at the highest level, but he was loved just as much as Mackay by family, friends and teammates.
Just like Dave Mackay, he was a footballer.
Barry Douglas remembers his young teammate at Queens park as a one of a kind, special guy and he will never forget him.
“A few the boys went to Magaluf and Stuart was a student at the time and he was always skint. He had a habit of taking some of the boy’s shoes and trainers. This one occasion, he turned up at night with Alan Trouten’s trainers on. We were all drunk and Stuart was drinking vodkas from his shoes. He then threw them across the street into another bar like they were his own!”
There was even more high jinx with one of the oldest trophies in our national game. “When we returned from training at Hampden, someone had left the Scottish Cup in the warm up area unattended. The boys had it in the showers, baths and plenty of naked team pictures were taken. Needless to say the cup was returned without anyone noticing.”
Childish pranks or holiday snapshots all worthy of a smile and in a quieter moment a tear.
Barry Douglas and the guys who played alongside Stuart have set up a web page to share more memories and make a small donation to their teammate’s family.
It won’t bring Stuart back, but it is a small gesture to try and reach out to a family in grief and let them know they care and remember Stuart with great fondness.
The former Queens park player remains a friend and teammate.
Whether you knew him or not, you can post a message on Stuart’s webpage or make a donation. You too can be a teammate or a friend to a family who’ve asked for nothing.
A kind word or a coin donated will be greatly appreciated.