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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 December 2007, 13:56 GMT
'Phil - Thanks for the memories'
Stephen Stewart
BBC Scotland news website

A tide of claret and amber grief greeted fans as they arrived at the footballing home of Phil O' Donnell.

A Motherwell teddy bear
One young fan left a heartfelt tribute to Phil O'Donnell

Despite the hundreds of people who came throughout the day, a passer-by could almost hear a pin drop as the club struggled to comprehend the tragedy.

It was only the quiet hum of car engines that was audible as the streets around the football stadium filled with supporters arriving to pay their last respects.

Phil O' Donnell's sporting prowess and sudden loss obviously hit young and old and transcended all team rivalries.

Strips and flags from teams across the UK dotted the ground's main entrance.

My heart goes out to his family. What a huge loss
Motherwell fan Mark Gibson

Celtic, Rangers, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur - the message was the same - the world had lost a great sportsman and a deeply beloved father.

One fan, who did not wish to be named, said: "It's just tragic, isn't it?

"I heard about it on Saturday night and just could not get my head around it.

"God knows what his family must be feeling. It's devastating."

Grown men openly cried as they knelt down to lay floral tributes among the countless flags, scarves and banners.

"Say hello To Davie!" said one Rangers strip in reference to the eerily similar sudden death of Ibrox legend Davie Cooper.

Teddy bear

As the day wore on, two Strathclyde firefighters even took time out to solemnly pay their own quiet tribute.

A lunchtime drizzle did not dampen the enthusiasm of the crowds which gathered in silence.

A Rangers top
One supporter's tribute referred to Ibrox legend Davie Cooper

Mark Gibson, a Motherwell fan, was just one of the many supporters who felt personally affected by the news of O'Donnell's death.

He said: "My heart goes out to his family. What a huge loss.

"He was a great player and a fantastic servant of the club. One thing is for sure, we will never forget him."

One thoughtful gesture stood out and seemed to sum up a truly tragic day in the annals of Scottish football.

A single, small child's teddy bear emblazoned with Motherwell FC's logo was tied with great care to the gates of an empty Fir Park.

SEE ALSO
Player's father speaks of shock
30 Dec 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
In Pictures: O'Donnell tributes
30 Dec 07 |  In Pictures
Phil O'Donnell: 1972-2007
30 Dec 07 |  Motherwell
Tributes flood in for O'Donnell
29 Dec 07 |  Motherwell
Motherwell captain O'Donnell dies
29 Dec 07 |  Motherwell

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