People from across Scottish football have paid tribute to Sandy Stables.
The former Keith chairman and honorary president of the Maroons died on Friday at the age of 69.
Sandy – who spent 50 years at Kynoch Park, with almost 40 as chairman – is survived by his wife Joan and sons Greig and Neil.
During his time at the helm, Keith won six Highland League titles, six League Cups, two Qualifying Cups, three Aberdeenshire Cups and five Aberdeenshire Shields.
Sandy stepped down as chairman of the Moray club two years ago as his health began to deteriorate, but continued as honorary president.
As a mark of respect to Sandy, Keith’s game against Forres Mechanics on Saturday was postponed.
While a minute’s silence was observed before every other Highland League game and Cove Rangers’ League Cup tie against Raith Rovers.
Sandy served two terms as president of the Highland League (1984-1987 and 2006-2009) and was president of the Aberdeenshire and District FA (ADFA) from 1990 until 2009.
He also spent 28 years as a councillor to the Scottish Football Association (SFA) before stepping down last year.
Former Cove chairman and Highland League president Alan McRae, now president of the SFA, said: “On behalf of the Scottish FA I would like to express my sadness at the passing of Sandy Stables.
“Sandy’s enthusiasm and passion for the game was infectious.
“A stalwart of football in the Highlands, he served Keith with distinction for nearly 50 years and was a respected voice in a variety of roles for the Scottish FA for over 25 of those.
“Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Sandy was a true one-off.”
Keith chairman Andy Troup thinks Sandy will be remembered as Mr Keith Football Club.
He said: “Everyone is devastated at the sad news.
“We have to pick ourselves up because Sandy wouldn’t have wanted us to be moping about.
“But we wish his family all the best and as a club we sent our condolences to Sandy’s family.
“I’ve known Sandy for 20 years and when he asked me to join the board of directors at Keith because his health was failing, we spoke every day.
“I will greatly miss him because he was somebody I could talk to, ask advice, throw ideas off of and he was always honest and open.
“But more importantly Sandy was the biggest lover of Keith Football club that has ever been and will ever be.”
Highland League president and Buckie Thistle vice-president Raymond Cardno said: “It’s very sad news.
“He was Mr Keith, but he will be a big miss for everyone in the Highland League, but more so for Keith Football Club and his family and friends.
“Sandy was a great ambassador for the Highland League.
“I think in the early days there were one or two who were president of the league more than once.
“But in the last 100 years there is only one name that appears twice and that’s Sandy Stables.
“He was also president of the Aberdeenshire and District Football Association as well for 19 years.
“It just shows the quality of the man, he was such a skilled football administrator. He was on various committees with the SFA and fought the league’s corner so valiantly.”
Fraserburgh chairman and former Highland League president Finlay Noble described Sandy as an “inspiration”.
He said: “He has been an inspiration to me. Being involved with the Broch from a young age, Sandy has always been around.
“Moving into a more official capacity at the club I’ve got to know him better and moving up to chairman of the Broch and working with the SFA Sandy has always been there for me.
“I leaned on his shoulder quite a lot over the years, I’ve always looked for his advice and appreciated what he’s said.
“He’s going to be a huge miss to the Highland League as a whole.
“It’s going to be a strange feeling to go to Kynoch Park and not have Sandy to chat to in the boardroom.
“And first and foremost he will be a big miss for his wife, children and grandchildren and we send our condolences to them.”
ADFA secretary Brian Christie was asked to take up his role by Sandy when he was president of the association.
Christie describes him as a “mentor” and said: “Sandy was a mentor to me because he took me on board with the association when I stopped refereeing.
“He was a great man, football was his life and any advice or anything you were looking for he would help you.
“North football will miss him so much and there’s no words you can really use to describe him.”
After joining Keith as a player in 1994, Martin Allan managed the Maroons from 1996 until 2009.
As boss at Kynoch Park he led Keith to two Highland League titles, two League Cups, the Qualifying Cup, the Aberdeenshire Cup and five Aberdeenshire Shields.
He remembers Sandy as a “fantastic man”.
Allan said: “I’ve probably got too many memories to mention, he was just an infectious character who initially attracted me to the club as a player.
“Then I got to the stage where I was manager of the club.
“He was Keith FC, he was the guy that drove it.
“It was Sandy that kept the club at the level they were for so many years because of his style and warmth of character.
“He was a fantastic man. He was an amazing character not just for Keith, but for the Highland League.
“He was always trying to support clubs in the league and he will be sadly missed.”
Derek Nicol made 582 appearances for Keith and scored 200 goals in 17 years with the club before retirement in 2012. He has fond memories of Sandy’s passion for the club and his support of the players and management.
He said: “When I was there it coincided with a successful time for the club.
“One of my memories was that we had been beaten in three Qualifying Cup finals, which was hugely disappointing.
“But when we did win it Sandy was the first one in the dressing room celebrating with the players.
“He was a Keith fan and I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone as passionate as that about a club.
“He was a real driving force for the team and very supportive of the managers.
“It’s a big loss, but he had been unwell for some time. It’s a big blow for Keith, the Highland League and for Joan, his wife, and all his family and friends.”