Former Manchester United captain Bryan Robson has paid a personal tribute to his close friend Ray Wilkins, who has sadly passed away at the age of 61.
“Ray was so respected by everybody and he was a real pleasure to know. He is a sad loss for football, but a bigger one for society.
“I played with Ray at England youth level when we were 17, winning the mini World Cup in Switzerland and I roomed with him on that trip, so we go back a long time as good friends both on and off the pitch.
“We played together for England and Manchester United for many years and we became very good friends.
“Ray was a great man, a real gentleman who was so courteous and he was like that with everybody who he met. He had all the time in the world for anybody in football, young players, team-mates, coaches, and of course supporters.
“He was a great player and supporters will have so many fond memories of Ray. I’ll always remember his goal against Brighton in the FA Cup final. He jumped over the barriers when he scored, running quickly to celebrate and it was a special moment that I’m sure so many will remember him by, because of his passion and enthusiasm was so infectious.
“Everybody will remember Ray as being a real gent. I can’t talk about him highly enough. He was a true gentleman of the game, he was in the top bracket.
“My thoughts are with all of Ray’s family and friends during this truly difficult time.”
“I am deeply saddened to hear that Ray Wilkins has been taken from us at such a young age. Ray will be remembered as a fantastic footballer but more importantly he will be remembered as a really true gentleman. I was lucky enough to be in his company on many occasions and his love of football always shone through. He will be missed throughout the footballing world. My thoughts are with his family at this terribly sad time.”
Sir Alex Ferguson has also expressed his regret towards the news, releasing the following statement via ManUtd.com.
“I am deeply saddened to hear that Ray Wilkins has passed away. Ray excelled as a player and scored a magnificent goal in the FA Cup against Brighton. He will be remembered by all of our supporters as an outstanding player and a lovely man by all of the staff that worked with him. His passion for the game never diminished. My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”