A football fan who travelled across the globe to watch his beloved Scotland team play has had a “fitting tribute” paid to him.
Joe McGunnigle died at his Aberdeen home on January 3 after being diagnosed with stage four head and neck cancer in 2016.
The 77-year-old followed the national team to five World Cups with trips to Germany, Spain, Mexico, Italy and France between 1974 and 1998.
Joe even cycled from Aberdeen to Hampden when he was younger so he could join the ranks of the Tartan Army in Glasgow.
In 2017 he travelled east to Slovenia to watch a World Cup qualifying match having recently had surgery.
One item that always accompanied Joe on his footballing adventures was his red tartan jacket.
He would always make sure he bought a patch featuring each country’s name and flag.
Joe collected more than 50 badges and he sewed them on to the garment.
Now the jacket has been donated to the Scottish Football Museum at Hampden Park in Glasgow where it will go on display.
Joe’s daughter Karen Sedgwick said having it showcased at the museum was a “fitting tribute” to her late father, and she said despite his illness, his love for the beautiful game did not diminish at all.
Karen said: “He had a tartan jacket and everywhere he would go he would have a patch sewn on to it.
“The Hampden football museum is going to put it on display.
“It has 50 patches from different countries where he went to watch Scotland play.
“It is a real fitting tribute for my dad to have the jacket on display at the football museum.
“My dad was still watching football to the very end. He spoke about it all the time and his enthusiasm never waned.”
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Joe was one of the stars of a Friends of Anchor Brave fundraiser event in May 2018, which saw him strut his stuff down the catwalk at a fashion show, clutching a board with the famous Doric phrase ‘haud gaun’ (keep going) written on it.
In December 2018, he also cut the first sods of turf at the Anchor Centre in the city, which will house all cancer treatments, including radiotherapy and oncology, under one roof in the future.
As well as Scotland, Joe was also a fan of Aberdeen FC and amateur football club Woodside, a team he used to manage.
Away from football he worked as an aircraft engineer at Aberdeen Airport and even ran his own kitchen company before his retirement. His wife Cath died 11 years ago.
Karen said tributes to her dad have been flooding in and have been a comfort for the family.
She said despite his own struggles with cancer, he made sure everyone around him was smiling and that extended to all of the healthcare staff who helped him.
Karen, of Midstocket, said: “We’ve had thousands of tributes and it is wonderful to see.
“It has been so comforting. He loved people.
“Even at the hospital with the doctors and nurses he kept everyone smiling.”
Joe’s family took him on holiday and Karen even arranged for him to enjoy some horse riding during a recent trip to Aviemore.
He also got to spend Christmas with his loved ones and even enjoyed a Guniness with his older brother to mark the beginning of 2020.
Karen said her father’s bravery in the face of his fight with cancer is something she will never forget.
She said he was something of an inspiration for everyone he met.
Karen continued: “I loved him for his straightforwardness and his courage.
“He really set an example and a standard for us all.
“For the Brave event, everyone had a motto on a board they took on the catwalk. I asked my dad what his would be and he said ‘haud gaun’.
“It was his phrase and it epitomised my dad.”
His granddaughter Cassie McGunnigle said her grandfather was a “major part” of all their lives.
The Robert Gordon University student lived with him for 22 years and he had wanted to see her graduate after completing her events management degree course later this year.
She said: “He was major part of our lives and always will be.
“He gave a lot of people hope despite his illness.”
Mr McGunnigle’s funeral service will take place at St Mary’s Cathedral on Tuesday.
He is survived by his brother Frank, his three children Karen, Joe and Gary, eight grandchildren and six great grandchildren.