Tragedy as football fan Billy dies after collapsing during Irn Bru Cup tie

Station Park in Forfar

A man has died after attending a football match in Angus.

Billy Whiteside, from Belfast, had travelled to Station Park, Forfar, to watch the Northern Irish side Crusaders take on Cove Rangers in the Irn Bru Cup.

The lifelong supporter, 73, who was the father of Crusaders’ club treasurer Tommy, fell ill and collapsed during the first half of the game.

The match was stopped for eight minutes and the players were taken off the pitch while Billy received treatment in the stands. 

Despite the best efforts of the paramedics he passed away in hospital of a suspected heart attack.

Stephen Bell, Crusaders chairman, said: “On behalf of the club, I would like to thank the efforts of the medical and ambulance staff.

“It’s a sad day for our club, but it will be a comfort that Billy passed away surrounded by friends.

“Billy will be sorely missed and we would convey our condolences to our esteemed treasurer, Tommy and the entire family circle. Billy’s passing will be marked appropriately at our next home fixture.”

 Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter said: “It does put the game into perspective.

“Billy was 73 and the generations come and go. This why we do football the way we do and people follow their local clubs. For the great families that are in local clubs. For any tragedy it is tough for the family.

“We will feel it as a football club and as a family and our thoughts and prayers are with the family.”

Meanwhile Forfar issued a statement: “All connected with Forfar Athletic Football Club would wish to pass on their deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Crusaders fan Billy Whiteside who so tragically collapsed and died on the terracing at Station Park during yesterday’s Irn Bru Cup tie between Cove Rangers and the Belfast side.

“As ever it brought football into perspective.

“The club would also like to thank the medical staff who were on duty at the game, those who volunteered their services from the crowd and also the Scottish Ambulance personnel for their speedy response.”

Crusaders won the game 3-0.

Cove Rangers, based in Aberdeenshire, played the game in Forfar due to being groundless at the moment.

The Highland League side’s pitch is being converted into housing.