Ben Close sends classy message to Portsmouth, Swindon and Republic of Ireland legend during ongoing cancer battle

Ben Close has sent a classy message to Alan McLoughlin during his brave battle with cancer.

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 12:00 pm

McLoughlin made 309 appearances during playing days at Fratton Park before going on to coach the academy and first team.

The ex-Republic of Ireland midfielder is also recognised as a great at Swindon He helped the Robins to Division Three promotion in 1987 before scoring the winning goal in their Division Two play-off final against Sunderland at Wembley in 1990.

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In addition, McLoughlin is currently Swindon’s academy manager.

For Pompey's League One clash at the County Ground on Tuesday, a giant flag of the former Man United man adorned the Town End to pay tribute to him during his cancer fight.

And Close – who worked with McLoughlin when coming through the Blues youth ranks – told of his pride when he spotted the tribute ahead of the Blues’ 3-1 defeat.

‘I saw the flag before the game and it just shows what a legend he is at Swindon,’ said Close.

A flag of Alan McLoughlin was present at the County Ground for Pompey's trip to Swindon. Picture: Jason Brown

‘I felt proud and was buzzing to see it. It's a great photo. I was looking out for photos on the wall inside the ground and didn't really see any then saw the massive flag of him.

‘I'm close with Macca and had a great relationship with him when he was at the club. He was pivotal for my development and helping me turn out to be the player I am today.

‘I got on really well with him off the pitch as a person, while on the pitch he's such a great coach.

He's such a great guy. I can't talk highly enough of him and really gutted to hear what he's going through, although he won't any sympathy because he's such a good guy.

Pompey legend Alan McLoughlin. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘He's a strong character and was great to see the flag of him. It shows the legend that he is in football.’

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