A “LEGEND” of amateur football has died after suffering a heart attack at the age of 57 – just a year after finally hanging up his boots.
Ronnie Travers – who most recently played for LBC Lochend – had just left his Leith home when he collapsed on Tuesday.
His son, Tommie, rushed out to help, but Mr Travers later died at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, leaving the Capital’s amateur football world “in total shock and disbelief”.
Lochend club secretary Gary Amos today led the tributes to the father-of-two, known for never finding himself in trouble with referees despite playing as a defender for 40 years.
Mr Amos said: “He had been playing 40-odd years and had just retired about a year ago when he was 56. He still played unbelievably well, better than some of the younger ones. We thought Travs would live forever, he was that fit.
“A lot of the lads I have spoken to are in shock, nobody can believe it. He was such an amazing guy.
“Football and his two kids were his life – he never missed training or a match.
“Ronnie never smoked and only had the occasional drink. It just goes to show. We’re all in disbelief that it’s happened.”
A plater by trade at Leith docks, Ronnie’s love of the game saw him clock up hundreds of appearances for clubs including West Calder, Leith United, Lochend AVU and Edinburgh City.
During his playing career, he won eight Scottish Cup medals and the East of Scotland Trophy with Lochend, where he also enjoyed a spell as assistant manager.
Scores of footballing friends took to Twitter and Facebook to pay their respects to the centre half, who never saw a yellow card throughout his playing days.
Kevin Foley, 45, a teammate of Ronnie for years at Lochend, played five-a-sides with him at the weekend.
He said: “We’d played football, had a late Christmas night out and he was right as rain. We’re all devastated.
“He was a great football player and a modest gentleman with traditional values. He lived and breathed football, that’s why he stuck at it so long.
“His attitude was brilliant and he was great helping coach the younger players.”
Son Tommie said: “We have been utterly overwhelmed by the response from the community and the literally hundreds of messages of support.
“Obviously, this is a very hard time for us. We’ve been left traumatised by the events, but the support shown by the footballing community has been overwhelming and I think my dad deserves the recognition. I just cannot believe how many people knew him.
“Aside from his footballing past, everyone has told me that he was a good and honest man – a gentleman. It has made us all incredibly proud.”
A minute’s silence is planned ahead of Lochend’s match against Edinburgh University this weekend as a mark of respect.
He leaves son Tommie, 26, daughter Kelly, 32, eight-year-old grandaughter Kayla and ex-wife Susan.