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Delight for family as council set to rename Brandywell in memory of Ryan McBride

By Leona O'Neill

The decision to rename Londonderry's landmark Brandywell Stadium after Derry City Football Club's tragic captain Ryan McBride will ensure "his name lives on forever", his brother-in-law has said.

A Derry City and Strabane District Council led consultation on the proposal to change the name of the stadium started in April and closed on July 1.

Some 6,775 people voted in the survey and 71% of the responses were in favour of renaming the stadium in honour of the 27-year-old footballer.

Ryan died suddenly in March of last year. He was found dead in his bed at his Bluebell Gardens' home by his father.

Just 24 hours previously the much-loved centre-back had captained his team to a blistering 4-0 victory against Drogheda United in Buncrana.

In the wake of his passing, his family and teammates set up the Ryan McBride Foundation to help and inspire young footballers to achieve their dreams.

Ryan's father and sisters were not present in the council chambers for yesterday evening's meeting. Ryan's brother-in-law Gareth McCay said that it was "too emotional for them".

"We are delighted by the news," he said.

"It has been an emotional three or four months as we awaited the decision and an emotional year-and-a-half since Ryan passed away. I think the whole process took on a life of its own. It is brilliant that we have got the positive outcome.

"It's great for the Ryan McBride Foundation too, because one of our main aims was to keep Ryan's legacy and name alive. Brandywell Stadium will be there for who knows how long and his name will be on it.

"We will always keep Ryan's name alive and this generation will remember what type of fella he was and how he played football.

"But in 20 years time there could be fellas walking into the Brandywell with their kids and their kids will ask who Ryan McBride is and they will be told.

"The story will be retold for years and years. Ryan's story is a unique story, where he came from playing pub football to playing for Derry City, turning down massive deals with other clubs to stay with Derry and becoming captain.

"We'll all sadly depart at some stage but the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium will always be there."

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