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Match Of The Day's Lineker leads tributes to footballer

Published 04/02/2016

Former England player Gary Lineker led tributes to Mark Farren after the ex-Derry City striker died of cancer.

The Match Of The Day presenter tweeted "RIP" beside a photo of Mark and wife Terri, captioned: "Most of all he was a decent human being."

It was just one of a host of tributes from the world of football and beyond for the Candystripes' record scorer.

Donegal-born Mark was one of the brightest stars of Irish football, having also played for Glenavon, where he is remembered with respect and admiration.

His brain tumour was diagnosed in 2008, and although it halted his career for a time, he refused to let it beat him.

A huge football flag and floral tributes have been placed at the Brandywell, where Derry City officials spoke of the great loss to the football fraternity.

The club's board said: "The word legend is often overused to describe people but in Derry City circles Mark Farren was a true legend. The club's all-time highest goal scorer in the League of Ireland, Mark was an inspiration on and off the pitch."

Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton said: "He achieved the record for the highest number of goals scored at Derry City, but while this might have made some players cocky and arrogant, that wasn't him at all. You couldn't meet a nicer, more gentle man anywhere."

Former team-mate James McClean, now at West Brom and a Republic of Ireland star, said: "Devastated at the passing of not only a great player but an even better man.

"The help this man gave me when I started at Derry as a youngster is something I will always be thankful for and never forget."

Mark's friends held a massive fundraising campaign so he could travel to Mexico for pioneering treatment.

They included Kevin McHugh, who said: "I saw Mark a few days ago and it was clear he was in a bad way. This is such a sad day, there's not a lot you can say."

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: "He was much more than a footballer.He was also a gentleman and loyal friend."

Derry mayor Elisha McCallion hosted a reception for Mark, Terri and their families after his return from Mexico.

Mrs McCallion said: "The support from the public for Mark was truly phenomenal, everyone got behind him and the efforts he and his family made to battle his illness.

"He will be greatly missed."

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