Tributes to Leek Town hero Chris 'Macca' McMullen
TRIBUTES are being paid to a local football legend who has died following a short battle with cancer.
Chris 'Macca' McMullen, below, was known as one of the finest footballers to have played for Leek Town FC.
The tough defender captained the side at Wembley in the final of the 1990 FA Trophy – which rates among the club's proudest achievements.
He made 405 appearances for the Blues, making him one of only three players to play more than 400 games for the club, scoring 30 goals.
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The father-of-two later went on to manage neighbouring team Leek CSOB, where he became chairman.
The 52-year-old, who lived in Leek, died at home on Wednesday evening after suffering liver cancer. Tributes were last night pouring in for the 'inspirational' family man, who leaves behind his wife, Tracy, son Jimmy and daughter Kate.
It is understood he kept his illness a secret from many of those close to him.
Kate, aged 25, said: "My dad was taken long before his time, though the time he had was never wasted.
"He has always been my inspiration and I remain eternally grateful to have shared some of his main passions – from his love of history, to football and music.
"We are all still in a state of shock and are devastated to have lost him.
"He always had an amazing ability to make those around him warm to his company, and those whose lives he touched will always remember him for the charismatic, loving and generous man he was."
His son Jimmy said: "I looked up to him as my role model, and my hero.
"He was someone I never wanted to displease – the one person I respected more than anyone else. I'm very, very proud to be known as his son."
Leek Town's chairman Andy Wain said: "He kept himself to himself regarding his illness. I spoke to a lot of people close to him and they didn't know.
"We often worked closely together. He loved his football and was tremendously well thought of, as a player and as a manager and chairman.
"Our condolences go out to his family."
A statement on Leek Town's website read: "The word 'legend' can be over used, but there is no doubt that Chris will truly be remembered as a Leek Town legend.
"Leek Town FC would like to send it's deepest condolences and sympathies to Chris's family and a tribute to 'Macca' will be held during Saturday's game."