Following the tragic news of former Swindon Town defender, QPR and Northern Ireland captain Alan McDonald passing at the age of 48, we’ll be paying our respects to Alan with footage of one of his memorable games while wearing our red and white.
A veteran defender when he joined the club at the age of 33, McDonald signed on a free transfer from Queens Park Rangers in the 1997/98 pre-season after making more than 400 appearances for the west London club.
After topping Division One in early November, relegation threatened Swindon had picked up just 11 points from the past 20 games, before facing fellow mid-table under-achievers – and McDonald’s former club – QPR at Loftus Road in March.
After Mark Walters netted a penalty to equalise an early QPR goal, Swindon appeared to be up against it when goalkeeper Fraser Digby was harshly sent off for handling outside of his area after just twenty minutes – a decision later rescinded on appeal.
Ex-Rangers legend McDonald pulled on the green jersey, and has the game of his life – keeping a clean sheet for the remaining seventy minutes, enabling Iffy Onuora to grab the winning goal on his début with a header on the stroke of half-time.
The vital win took Town to 49 points with 8 games remaining, which would ultimately be enough to avoid the drop as pre-sheik Manchester City finished the season with a return of 48 in 22nd place.
At the end of the season, after making 36 appearances and scoring his only goal against Stockport County, McDonald hung up his boots and moved into the backroom staff. Alan left the club following the sacking of Jimmy Quinn at the end of the 1999/00 season into coaching roles in Northern Ireland with the under-21s and later with Glentoran, where he won the Irish FA Premiership in 2009.
Alan was one of the game’s big characters and will be sorely missed. We’d like to thank Alan for his massive contribution during his short time at Swindon, which saved us – literally – from certain relegation. Our condolences to his family and those who knew him.