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Obituary: Ian Stirling RIP

Ian and wife Lynn

The FSA was very sorry to hear of the tragic passing of Manchester United supporter Ian Stirling this weekend. Ian played a huge role at Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST), was always a friend to the FSA and, most importantly, he was a great guy.

Former FSA caseworker Amanda Jacks shares her memories of Ian…

Club statements, national media tributes and the wearing of black arm bands by players tend to be reserved for the deaths of only the most high profile or extraordinary people connected with a club.

Therefore, it is only fitting that Manchester United were swift to mark the untimely and tragic passing of Ian Stirling on Saturday 11th March. Similarly, in their thousands, friends, fellow fan activists, journalists and the club’s supporters were quick to take to social media to leave their own tributes.

If Ian was reading this over my shoulder I don’t doubt that he’d scoff at the idea he was extraordinary, call me daft and tell me to delete it.

As far as he was concerned, as the Independent Supporter Liaison Officer for the MUST, all he was doing was ‘his bit’ to make things better for the tens of thousands of fans who stream in and out of Old Trafford and beyond. But he did far more than ‘his bit’, as Steve Armstrong (formerly of the fanzine United We Stand) said on Twitter:

And this was how I met Ian, when he was giving up his time voluntarily for MUST. If I remember rightly our first meeting was to discuss the policing of a game against Liverpool, at Old Trafford. Spirit of Shankly were involved too.

And that working relationship continued until I left the FSA last month. Thankfully I knew the friendship we’d developed along the way would endure regardless, or at least that’s what I thought would happen until fate so cruelly intervened.

Ian’s many strengths and qualities have already been well documented in the short time since he’s left us, and he brought all of those to our friendship. In that capacity when I went through a tough time a few years ago he was there for me. Endlessly kind, patient and supportive. I will be forever grateful he was there to be leant on.

I saw him giving up so much of his time to ensure fans had a better time following the club, often without thanks or appreciation. This meant that sometimes the work got him down. On occasion he found it impossible to ignore the negative nonsense on social media, despite the positive massively outweighing it. But he carried on doing what he did so well, his determination, passion and loyalty to his fellow fans always being what mattered most.

His legacy will live on through Manchester United supporters and his friends and colleagues at MUST who I know will miss him beyond words.

Ian leaves his wife, Lynn, who I met several times, and let me tell you this… anybody who speaks of their partner how Ian used to speak about Lynn, is extremely lucky and fortunate. They’d been together for three decades and their deep and abiding love for each other was abundantly obvious.

Ian and Lynn have a daughter, Lucy. They were a tight knit and extremely close family and to say Ian adored Lucy is an understatement. He was also immensely proud of her, it was obvious when he spoke of her which he did, often.

Goodbye, my lovely mate, and thank you for being my friend. You were and are one of the very best.

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