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Former Ebbsfleet manager Liam Daish leads tributes to FA Trophy winning captain Paul McCarthy, who has died aged 45

PUBLISHED: 10:26 21 February 2017 | UPDATED: 10:26 21 February 2017

Former Ebbsfleet United player and coach Paul McCarthy

Former Ebbsfleet United player and coach Paul McCarthy

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The former captain and coach died on Sunday

Liam Daish with the FA Trophy. Picture by Ady KerryLiam Daish with the FA Trophy. Picture by Ady Kerry

Football fans are in mourning for a ‘well-loved’ ex-footballer who died suddenly aged just 45.

Tributes have poured in from the footballing world for Paul McCarthy who died on Sunday from a suspected heart attack.

The father-of-four captained Ebbsfleet United FC during their famous FA Trophy-winning season nearly 10 years ago.

The ex-Republic of Ireland U21 international fired the Fleet into a final at Wembley Stadium after scoring in the semi-final against Aldershot Town.

A 1-0 win over Torquay in the final saw McCarthy lift the cup in front of 40,000 people in 2008.

He went on to become an assistant coach at the club in 2009, and together with manager Liam Daish, masterminded the Fleet’s return to the Conference in 2011.

Together the pair saw their share of highs and lows, and the former manager said his time with footballer was a ‘rollercoaster’.

“The promotion and the trophies, they looked after themselves, my memories are the tough days,” said Mr Daish.

“I remember times on the road back from those away days where maybe we didn’t get a good result.

“We would sit at the front of the bus and just talk about football and have a laugh, I got to really know him, he was reliable and a solid man, there was no agenda to him.

“Macca just wanted to work as hard as he could, I never had to worry about the dressing room while he was there.

“I hadn’t seen Paul for over 18 months, but when we met it would always just click back to where we left off, I’m gutted that I’ll have to wait so long to see him again.

“It just isn’t right, yesterday I was in shock but now its sinking in. It’s just tragic for his wife Kath and their girls.”

Paul McCarthy had previously enjoyed a Football League career with Brighton & Hove Albion, Oxford United and Wycombe Wanderers.

A statement on the club’s website read: ““Quite apart from going down in Fleet history as the man who lifted the FA Trophy at Wembley in 2008, Paul was a well-loved and popular figure throughout his long association with the club.

“All of us at the club, many of whom will remember working alongside Paul in his time here, are deeply saddened by the news and extend our most heartfelt sympathies to his family at this time as we’re sure do all the club’s fans who remember him warmly as a person and a great servant at Stonebridge Road.”

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