Gordon McQueen: Scotland, Manchester United, and Leeds United great dies aged 70

Former Scotland, Manchester United and Leeds United defender Gordon McQueen has died at the age of 70 after suffering from dementia.

After starting his career with St Mirren, McQueen was sold to Leeds and would go on to help win the English league title in 1974, the FA Cup with Manchester Utd in 1983.

He played 30 times for Scotland and was chosen for the 1978 World Cup but missed out because of injury. He later became a pundit before being treated for cancer of the larynx in 2011.

McQueen was diagnosed with dementia in 2021, with his family saying at the time that he wanted “footballers of today’s generation to know there may be risks with persistent heading of the ball”.

A statement from his family read: “It is with the heaviest of hearts we announce the passing of Gordon, who died at home in the early morning today, leaving behind his wife Yvonne, daughters Hayley and Anna, son Eddie and his beloved grandchildren Rudi, Etta and Ayla.

“We hope that as well as creating many great football memories he’ll be remembered most for his character.

“Our house was always full of friends, family and football just as it was in his last few months as he fought so bravely in what became a very cruel battle against dementia.

“The disease may have taken him too soon but he definitely lived life to the full, the ultimate entertainer, the absolute heart and soul of every occasion, the most fun dad anyone could wish for.

“Huge thanks goes to the wonderful staff at Herriot Hospice Homecare for their outstanding care, the utterly incredible Marie Curie team who were there at the end with Gordon’s wife and daughters and Head for Change for the emotional support and respite care.

“Also to our wonderful friends and family who rallied around at the worst of times, going above and beyond, for that we are so very grateful.”

A regular for Scotland after making his debut against Belgium in 1974, McQueen scored five goals for his country, two of which came in the nation’s British Home Championship triumph during the 1976-77 campaign.

His most famous goal came at Wembley, when his header helped Scotland to a 2-1 win over England which sparked a famous pitch invasion by the Tartan Army.

McQueen also scored three times on Leeds’ run to the 1975 European Cup final, but was suspended for the final defeat by Bayern Munich.

And he was in the Manchester Utd side that lost the 1979 FA Cup final to Arsenal, scoring in the 3-2 loss at Wembley.

Born in Kilbirnie, he made 77 appearances for St Mirren, 172 in six years with Leeds and 229 in seven with Man Utd.

McQueen left Old Trafford after missing out on the side that beat Everton in the 1985 FA Cup final, and had a spell with Seiko in Hong Kong before turning to coaching.

After a year as Airdrieonians manager, McQueen joined former Man Utd team-mate Bryan Robson as Middlesbrough’s reserve-team coach and later was first-team coach and scout. He also worked as a TV pundit.

‘A brilliant person with a huge heart’ – reaction

Robson was one of the first to play tribute, calling his friend “strong and brave, and ahead of his times in being a defender who could contribute as much in attack as he did in defence”.

“He was a perfect fit for Manchester United with his flair, courage and big personality, and that’s why the fans loved him.

“Most importantly, though, he was a brilliant person with a huge heart. He lit up any room he walked into, and that’s how he should be remembered.”

Lou Macari, who played with McQueen for Scotland and Man Utd, added: “RIP Gordon, friend and team-mate. Biggest character in football, large as life, funny, full of desire. Took to Utd like a natural and loved the roar after one of his runs.

“That awful illness robbed us of the real Gordon, heart goes out to family, wife Yvonne was a 24/7 warrior for him.”

Gordon McQueen

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