We were all deeply saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Ian Stirling, aged 57, at the weekend.
Ian was not only a lifelong and local United fan, but he was instrumental in developing, improving and enhancing relations between supporters and the club’s management team.
Ian took up the role of Independent Supporter Liaison Officer for MUST, the Manchester United Supporters Trust, in 2003. He was also a founding member of the club’s Fans’ Advisory Board and a long-time member of the Fans’ Forum.
It’s is impossible to put into words just how much Ian did for United supporters all around the world, helping with countless issues that fans encountered both at home and abroad, as well as playing a vital role in dialogue between supporters and the club. He was a fearless and vocal champion on fan issues and someone who spoke truth to power.
In an unprecedented tribute, the club’s players all wore black armbands for the game against Southampton on Sunday and a beautiful red and white wreath was left on Ian’s empty seat for the game at Old Trafford.
The club also issued a warm and generous statement, with United’s chief executive Richard Arnold saying: “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. 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.”
Manchester United Supporters Trust said: “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. 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.”
Several Rainbow Devils Committee Members were both colleagues and friends of Ian’s over many years, and we would all like to pass our sincere and heartfelt condolences to his wife, Lynn, daughter Lucy, and other loved ones.
Rest in eternal peace Ian, gone but never to be forgotten.