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May 29, 2018, 10:34 AM
Ex Aberdeen European Cup Winners Cup hero Neale Cooper dies after collapsing.
Cooper, who was 54, was taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in the early hours of Sunday morning, but lost his fight for life yesterday afternoon.
Police Scotland earlier confirmed officers had been called to a report of a man who had collapsed within a communal stairwell
in the Ferguson Court area of Bucksburn at around 1.45am on Sunday 28th May 2018. They are not treating the incident as suspicious.
Police appealed for the driver of a black people carrier taxi, which picked up Cooper along with another man and two women at about 12.30a.m. on Sunday at Union Street, to contact them.
Cooper was in Sir Alex Ferguson’s team who beat Real Madrid 2-1 in Gothenburg in May 1983, before overcoming Hamburg later that year to clinch the European Super Cup.
He also won two league winners’ medals following the Aberdeen’s championship triumphs of 1984 and 1985, while he won the Scottish Cup four times and League Cup once.
One half of Scottish football’s terrible twosome during his initial seven year stint with Aberdeen, he and midfield partner Neil Simpson were the enforcers who gave Ferguson’s side their bite.
The combative midfielder also played for Aston Villa, Rangers, Reading – although injury hampered his progress at all three clubs – and had a second spell with Aberdeen.
He rediscovered his form and fitness at Dunfermline and Ross County, before managing the latter team and also Hartlepool, Gillingham and Peterhead.
He had been working for Saltire Energy and attended a 35th anniversary gathering of the Cup Winners’ Cup triumph with his former team mates earlier this month.
Cooper was born in November 1963 and boasted the exotic birthplace of Darjeeling, India where his father Douglas was working as a tea plantation manager.
When the family returned to Scotland, he turned up for primary school speaking only Hindu.
He recalled: “This must have confused some of the other parents when they got told, ‘An Indian boy joined our school today – he’s got blond hair’.
I remember everyone in my class having to say where they’re born. ‘Darjeeling’, I said. ‘Where’s that?’ ‘Oh, it’s a village in the country... near Fraserburgh’.”
His upbringing, and especially his father’s sudden death aged just 39 following a heart attack,
imbibed a toughness into his make up. Without it, it was doubtful Ferguson would have handed him his first team debut at only 16 in 1979.
(This post was edited by John Treleven on May 29, 2018, 10:41 AM)