FORMER teammates of Craig McDonald joined together for a match in memory of the popular Stamfordham player and manager.

The 43-year-old, who was the third generation of his family to run the Stamfordham football team, died on June 9, after suffering a suspected heart attack.

He was also an active committee member at Ponteland United, and was on the verge of taking over as the Northern Alliance Premier Division club’s matchday secretary prior to his death.

Last Saturday, players involved with both Stamfordham and Ponteland teams contested the Craigy Mac Memorial Football Game.

The match took place at Ponteland Leisure Centre, with spectators turning out to join the players in remembering Craig.

Stephen Christie, manager of the Ponteland Village team, a local rival of Stamordham in the Hexham and District Sunday League, said everyone was united on the day.

He added: “The sun came out and everybody wanted to join together for Craig, regardless of whether they were players or spectators.

“It was a day for the community to do their bit for Craig. It was a good game of football and I’m sure he was looking down on us all.”

Former teammate Andrew Davison said: “It was a great send off for the gaffer, an unbelievable turnout for a man who would do anything for anyone.

“What he did for Stamfordham Football Club was nothing short of remarkable and he did it all by himself with very little help.

“Myself and all the football lads miss him massively. He didn’t have a bad bone in his body and was a proper football man. He was a legend and everyone loved him.”

The match was followed by a buffet at Ponteland Social Club, and a raffle was well supported by the local community.

Craig grew up in Ponteland and attended the village’s Richard Coates Middle School and Ponteland High.

He first played football for Stamfordham as a teenager, and went on to run the team for many years, ensuring it continued to fulfil fixtures despite often struggling for players.

His commitment to Stamordham’s football team stemmed from his grandfather Jack, and father Angus, who both played for and managed the side.

In more recent years, Craig lived in Throckley. A dye maker in the printing trade, he had been planning to move into a new home at Cramlington.

Family and friends paid their respects at a funeral service at the West Road Crematorium in Newcastle on June 22.