'Without Ronnie Stinson, Portadown FC would be in a much unhealthier place.'
Tributes have been flowing after the passing of Portadown Football Club's 'true gentleman' chairman Ronnie Stinson.
The club announced his death, aged 70, on Wednesday morning.
"It's with deep sadness and regret that we announce the sad passing of Portadown FC chairman Ronnie Stinson following a long illness," read a statement.
"Everyone at the club would like to pass on their sincere and heartfelt sympathies to the family and friends of Ronnie."
Stinson played arguably a key role in Portadown's return to the Premiership last year, after their relegation in 2017. He was the chairman that appointed current manager Matthew Tipton and worked with supporters to rebuild what had previously been a fragmented club in the aftermath of the departure of legendary manager Ronnie McFall.
Even though he was a director and then the chairman, he remained one of the fans.
Dave Wiggins, who served as chairman of the We are Ports supporters' group before becoming the fans' representative to the football club's Board of Directors, said Stinson's role in the club's rejuvenation cannot be overstated.
"Without Ronnie Stinson, Portadown would be in a much unhealthier place than we are now. We would be in a very different situation," he explained.
"With the uncertainty when Ronnie McFall left, the board - and I would specifically say Ronnie himself - have guided the club through financial turmoil as well as just steadying the whole ship. Ronnie poured his heart and soul into the club.
"He has been a member of Eden Reds Supporters Club so even though he was a director and then the chairman, he remained one of the fans, going to matches on the supporters' bus.
"When things weren't good with the club, he wanted to speak to supporters and move forwards together. He was a big part of doing that.
"At board meetings, he was no-nonsense in that he just wanted to get things done for the best of Portadown football club.
"He really guided Portadown through a very difficult period, to where the legacy he has left is that the club is in a healthy financial position, steady and back to where we want to be in the Premiership.
"He was a good family man, a good businessman as owner of Portadown Carpet Centre and also a good football man, probably in that order with his family first."
Social media has been awash with kind words about Mr Stinson, who is survived by his his wife Jackie and their children James and Julie.
Other clubs such as Glentoran, Ballymena United and Dungannon Swifts - who called Mr Stinson a 'true gentleman' - have added their own tributes while BBC football commentator Michael Clarke said Mr Stinson "steered his hometown club through some very tough times and his commitment never waivered."
Former players such as David McCullough, Richard Clarke and Mark Carson also paid their respects, along with Michael Gault.
"Terrible news and thoughts with the Stinson family. He would have been proud of the team last night," said the former Portadown midfielder, after the 2-2 draw with Crusaders on Tuesday evening.
Linfield chairman Roy McGivern added: "I didn’t know Ronnie well but had a great chat with him when we visited Shamrock Park in November. He undoubtedly had a great passion for his club and local football."
Larne chairman Gareth Clements said: "On behalf of everyone at Larne FC I pass on our sincere condolences on the passing of Ronnie. Always enjoyed our conversations, a football man and a Port through and through."