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Ivan Foster, Linfield FC's 'elder statesman'

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Ivan Foster, a former director of Linfield Football Club, has died at the age of 89.

Andrew Ivan Foster was born on November 18, 1927, and throughout his life had a great love of football.

He became a member of Linfield in December 1966, before becoming a life member in 1978.

He was a former secretary of the 1982 True Blues Linfield Supporters' Club, and held honorary positions in several other supporters' clubs, including 1st Newtownabbey LSC, where he was a vice-president.

Mr Foster served the club in numerous capacities. His skills and popularity led to his election to the club's management committee in 1991, and he served in this post with distinction, until stepping down as a director in May 2015.

He was secretary of the ground committee in 1996, and for many years he was the Linfield representative to the Country Antrim FA, and he served for a period as chairman of the senior clubs committee of the same body.

He had considerable administrative skills, and he acted as secretary for the testimonial seasons of Lindsay McKeown in 1989 and Martin McGaughey in 1990. After he retired as a director, he was appointed as an honorary vice-president, and to mark the occasion was honoured by his former colleagues at a tribute dinner at Malone Golf Club in December 2015.

He was appointed MBE for his services to football.

In a tribute, Linfield FC said: "Ivan Foster was the elder statesman of the club, and a gentleman of great dignity and wisdom.

He will be especially remembered as the club's esteemed, greatly respected and much-loved honorary secretary, providing valuable back-up support and counsel to the secretary over many years.

"He also represented the club with great dignity at numerous functions, events, meetings and Press conferences.

"With his trademark bow tie, Ivan added a touch of colour and class to the Windsor Park landscape, and although he had been too ill to attend games in recent times, he will be greatly missed by his many friends and former boardroom colleagues."

He is survived by his daughter Alison, son Michael, grandson Andrew, and by his wider family and friends.

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