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Sports editor who covered European football triumph dies aged 85

Alastair AberdeenA daily newspaper sports editor who reported on what was arguably his local team’s most famous footballing triumph has died aged 85.

Tributes have been paid to Alastair MacDonald, formerly of the Press and Journal, Aberdeen, whose journalism career spanned five decades.

Alastair, pictured left, was present to cover Aberdeen FC’s 1983 European Cup Winners’ Cup victory over Real Madrid in Gothenburg, Sweden.

He also reported on four World Cups, following Scotland across the globe for his newspaper.

Born into a family of journalists whose association with the industry stretched back to the 1860s, Alastair was raised in the town of Buckie.

He was first introduced to journalism by his late father William in the 1940s, when he worked for the Banffshire Advertiser.

He remained there until he was called up in January 1949, to do his national service in the Royal Navy before joining Aberdeen Journals in autumn 1950.

Later that decade he took up a position on the sports desk and in the early 1970s was appointed sports editor and chief reporter.

The Press and Journal’s current chief sports sub-editor George Bremner started with the paper when Alastair held those roles.

Said George: “Alastair gave me great support and encouragement when I joined the P&J and was always a great source of information and reference point when you needed any facts and figures on many sporting issues and, of course, Aberdeen FC.

“He took great pride in his main role of covering the fortunes of the Dons and was meticulous in recording all the facts and figures on the Dons and collating them in his own personal records, right down to the fortunes of the reserve team.

“He was a journalist in the old-school mould and was well respected and trusted by his colleagues and the Dons managers and players of his time, helping Aberdeen greats Alex Ferguson and Willie Miller with their early books.”

Mr Miller, who was pat of the 1983 Cup winning team, added: “There was never any friction with Alastair because you could always trust his reports to be fair and factually correct. He will be missed.”

Alastair’s other great passion away from football was golf, and upon his retirement from journalism in 1989 he was elected secretary of Deeside Golf Club.

He was married to primary school teacher Irene from 1957 until her death in 2003.

Alastair is survived by their three married children – Calum, who started as a journalist at the P&J, and twins Shona and Morag.

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  • October 22, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Alastair was a real P and J stalwart, a fine journalist and thoroughly pleasant man who was a regular at TRN sports editors’ annual get-togethers in London during the 1970s-80s along with his Aberdeen colleague Jimmy Forbes of the Evening Express. Great memories.

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