TRIBUTES have been paid to Hearts’ commercial executive John McBride after he died following a short illness.
The grandad-of-five, from Gorgie, was described by club boss Ann Budge as a “Jambo from boyhood”.
Mr McBride dedicated his life to the club and helped Hearts to recover during its time of crisis.
Ms Budge said he restored its “commercial fortunes, strong bonds and trust”.
As a teenager, Mr McBride was a pupil at Tynecastle High School and supported Hearts from a young age.
Chief executive Ms Budge said: “John’s support for his beloved Hearts was unwavering and his life revolved around the club.
“A fan first and foremost, he joined the club at a time of crisis and helped to ‘keep the show on the road’ during administration.
“As the club recovered and began the process of rebuilding relationships with sponsors and supporters, John played a key part in restoring its commercial fortunes, forging strong bonds and rebuilding trust.
“John was a loving and committed family man.
“His three daughters and five grandchildren were a constant source of pride.
“As a Foundation of Hearts pledger from its inception, he was particularly proud that his grandson, Connor, saved his pocket money to pay for the Foundation’s ‘Create History’ board that was displayed in the Main Stand throughout the 2014/15 season.”
In 2015, shortly after he had recovered from serious surgery and chemotherapy, Mr McBride organised a fundraiser in the Gorgie Suite that raised more than £20,500 for Maggie’s Centres – which offer support for people with cancer.
Ms Budge added: “It was a cruel blow when the illness returned, but in his usual manner John responded with great dignity, with his thoughts firmly focused on those for whom he cared, and who cared for him.
“The thoughts of the club are with his daughters, his grandchildren and his partner, Liz, at this sad time.”
Stuart Wallace, chairman of the Foundation of Hearts, said: “John will be sadly missed.
“He always worked quietly in the background but was an unsung hero.
“He played a huge role in raising the publicity of the club and helped us sort out the turf cubes at Tynecastle.
“Because we were aware of what was happening, Ann Budge gave him a turf cube and a virtual plot at Tynecastle. Our thoughts are with his family.”
Quoting the statement from the Hearts website on her Twitter page amongst a flurry of social media tributes, Joy McBride wrote: “So proud to call you my dad.”
A spokesman for Maggie’s said: “Everyone at Maggie’s was extremely saddened to hear of John’s passing.
“During his time visiting Maggie’s Edinburgh the entire team got to know him well and he will be missed.
“We would like to pass on our deepest condolences to John’s family at this difficult time.”