The first game at the redeveloped Brandywell Stadium will be a fantastic opportunity for the supporters of Derry City to come together and embrace everything that makes the club so special. One of those things is the family spirit that stretches far
The first game at the redeveloped Brandywell Stadium will be a fantastic opportunity for the supporters of Derry City to come together and embrace everything that makes the club so special.
One of those things is the family spirit that stretches far beyond the pitch and into the heart of the community. That was evidenced in March 2017 when the club lost its warrior captain Ryan McBride.
It is now a year on and the club still greatly miss him. Former player and manager Peter Hutton believes that the local lad who became a hero inspired many and left behind a lasting legacy.
"He is a massive loss and that goes without saying for his immediate family and friends, but also to the team and the club as a whole," Hutton said on the Greatest League In The World podcast.
"It has been a huge blow to the team itself. I think he is still being missed, in terms of his leadership qualities and his commanding presence on the pitch.
"It's devastating...to be taken so young, full of life, and had so much to play for and had so much to look forward to. It's hard to put into words. It's very, very sad."
When Hutton thinks about McBride, he recalls a softly-spoken man who did his talking on the pitch. Yet, his favourite memory is when he appointed the tough-tackling defender as club captain.
"I remember when I decided to make him the captain. I rang him at home...he lived right beside the [Derry City] ground, so I asked him to call over to the office as I wanted to see him. I didn't tell him why," he explained.
"When he got in, he was telling me that on the whole way over he was raking his mind going "what did I do wrong?" Because you got a yellow card in the game before and I think he was thinking that I was going to give him the riot act. So when I called him and asked him about being the captain, the smile on his face said it all. He was like a cheshire cat grinning.
"It was such an honour for him and such a privilege because he was such a Derry lad, who grew up supporting the club and his family were a footballing family. It was such a proud moment for him."
Check out the full interview on the latest episode of Greatest League In The World