x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Gretna remember man who funded rise to top, then pulled plug

The former Gretna manager Davie Irons paid tribute to the defunct club's former owner Brooks Mileson following his death.

The former Gretna manager Davie Irons paid tribute to the defunct club's former owner Brooks Mileson following his sudden death this week. Mileson died after a long battle with illness. He collapsed at his home near Carlisle, in north-west England, on Monday and was taken to Cumberland Infirmary where he later died. Mileson had been receiving treatment for a neurological illness and had spent time at a specialist unit in Newcastle, but his condition had not improved despite receiving the best care.

The businessman financed Gretna's rapid rise from the English non-league setup to the Scottish Premier League before the club was wound up in May. His funding, which totalled £8million (Dh46.8m), stopped in February as he was hospitalised with a brain infection. He also helped Gretna reach the 2006 Scottish Cup final, where they lost to Hearts in a penalty shoot-out at Hampden Park. Irons, now in charge of Morton, described Mileson as "One of the most generous people I have ever come across".

"He took a lot of stick for what happened in the end but I would like to think he'll be remembered for his generosity, he said. "He was generous and passionate and very honest and a trustworthy guy to so many people. He was also a bit naive - he put a lot of trust in people who let him down." Gretna supporters formed a new club, who compete in the East of Scotland League. Although they play in the nearby town of Annan, they hope to move back to Raydale Park, where their previous incarnation was based.

Their chairman Anton Hodge said he does not bear a grudge for the withdrawal of funding. "We would like to extend our condolences to his family, especially Craig, his son, who was involved in the old club. "We just want to remember the generosity of Brooks, and his support. He helped out a lot of clubs, not just Gretna, in the north of England and Scotland. "I will remember a very generous guy. He loved the club. He always preferred to come into the stand with fans and be with them rather than the directors' box."

* PA Sport