Explained: Why Man Utd players are wearing black armbands against Southampton
- Man Utd pay tribute to fan representative Ian Stirling
- Stirling was "loved and respected"
- One of the leaders behind Old Trafford's safe standing area
WHAT HAPPENED? The gesture is in tribute to fan representative Ian Stirling, who has died at the age of 57. Stirling was a founding member of United's Fans’ Advisory Board and the independent supporter liaison officer for Manchester United Supporters’ Trust.
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WHAT THEY SAID: “This is truly devastating news for all of us at the club who knew and worked with Ian. He was a towering figure within our fan community, loved and respected in equal measure," said Richard Arnold, United's chief executive.
"Ian was a relentless and unflinching advocate for the interests of fans, particularly match-goers, and we highly-valued the plain-speaking advice he provided. We send our sincere condolences to his wife, Lynn, daughter Lucy, and other loved ones."
Everyone at Manchester United is deeply saddened by the passing of respected fan representative, Ian Stirling.— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 12, 2023
Ian was a passionate & fearless champion of fan interests, and a cherished friend to countless Reds.
Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this incredibly sad time. pic.twitter.com/7AtlJEo9Yp
IN A PHOTO:
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Hundreds of United fans left messages of condolence on social media for Stirling's family. He was praised for going out of his way to help supporters on European trips and for his role in the opening of a safe standing area at Old Trafford this season.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR MANCHESTER UNITED? Erik ten Hag's side host Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday looking to respond to last week's 7-0 defeat by Liverpool, who lost 1-0 at Bournemouth on Saturday.