Manchester United will wear black armbands out of respect for Ian Sterling

Manchester United will wear black armbands out of respect for Ian Sterling

Manchester United will pay tribute to devoted fan Ian Sterling – who played a pivotal role as a fan champion and helped in the return of safe standing at Old Trafford.

Ian Sterling was regularly found in J Stand, stood with his mates, many whom he helped down the years. He also helped thousands of others – many of didn’t know him – through his role in football politics.

Over the past 24 hours, Manchester United fans have been paying tribute to Stirling after his passing.

The lifelong Red took up the role of independent supporter liaison officer with the Manchester United Supporters Trust having joined in 2003, after attending his first match back in the early 1970s.

Manchester United have confirmed that the team will wear black armbands for today’s game against Southampton at Old Trafford as a mark of respect for Ian’s immense contribution.

Richard Arnold, Manchester United Chief Executive, said: “This is truly devastating news for all of us at the club who knew and worked with Ian. He was a towering figure within our fan community, loved and respected in equal measure. Ian was a relentless and unflinching advocate for the interests of fans, particularly match-goers, and we highly-valued the plain-speaking advice he provided.

“We send our sincere condolences to his wife, Lynn, daughter Lucy, and other loved ones. The best tribute we can pay to Ian is to continue strengthening the club’s commitment to fan engagement via the Fans’ Advisory Board and Fans’ Forum, and preserving the lines of communication and advocacy which he opened in his role as Independent Supporter Liaison Officer.”

Everyone at Manchester United is deeply saddened by the passing of respected fan representative, Ian Stirling.

Ian was a passionate & fearless champion of fan interests, and a cherished friend to countless Reds.

Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this incredibly sad time.

— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 12, 2023

A statement from MUST reads: “Everyone at MUST is heartbroken at the news that Ian Stirling, our much loved friend and colleague, has passed away.

“Ian was a truly great man. Warm, compassionate, generous and funny. As his closest friends and family will confirm – no-one enjoyed a joke more than Ian and there are few in our fanbase who have inspired such widespread affection and respect.

“For many years he has been at the heart of championing fans’ interests. He served as our Independent Supporter Liaison Officer directly helping countless fans in their dealings with the Club and other football authorities but his reach went far beyond that. He also served as our representative on the Fans Forum, making the supporters’ case firmly and consistently. His stature with the club was such that in latter years he was asked to join the Fans Advisory Board where he spoke truth to power representing the interests of fans and our football club at the highest levels. It really is impossible to think of another United supporter who has done so much for his fellow fans.

“The tributes to Ian have been flooding in from all over the world. We can’t really imagine our organisation without him but through the tears and emotion of today we are determined to continue his work to create a truly fitting legacy.

“Away from football Ian was a devoted husband and father and we send our love to his wife, Lynn, and his daughter, Lucy and his many friends in Salford and Manchester and all around the world.”

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