Friends of a devout Leeds United supporter who died suddenly have arranged a minute’s applause at the club’s match in his memory.
Mark Gawthorpe, 50, from Horbury in Wakefield, died on Wednesday after suffering a heart attack and his fellow fans hope a 5,000-strong away end at Barnsley today will join in to celebrate his life.
Friend Darren Powell, from Kettlethorpe, said: “We all lost our best mate on Wednesday and he was a massive Leeds fan. We’ve been all over the country, up and down, with him.
“We’re asking all Leeds fans for a minute of applause at the 50 minute mark to remember him.
“We are all one big family so I reckon everyone will join in. We’re all buzzing for it.”
Mr Gawthorpe was a stalwart of Elland Road’s South Stand and the Six Chimneys pub in Wakefield city centre.
Mr Powell said: “He was a lovely, down to earth man. He was supposed to be coming to the match, bless him. I’ve got his ticket here.
“Maybe he knew something was wrong because just the other day he said he wanted to have seen Leeds return to the Premier League and see us beat Manchester United in the FA Cup again.”
He said it had only been a few weeks since Mr Gawthorpe was celebrating his 50th birthday with friends at Swan With Two Necks on Westgate in Wakefield.
Mr Powell predicted a 2-1 win for Leeds in today’s Yorkshire derby.
The match will be broadcast live on Sky Sports 1 at 5.30pm this evening.
Mr Gawthorpe leaves two brothers, a sister and his father.
His funeral will be held at Wakefield Crematorium, on Standbridge Lane, Crigglestone, on Friday February 3, 11am.