John Dempster and Rob Dunion have led the tributes to former Corby Town defender Andy Brown who tragically passed away last week at the age of just 32.
Brown was a well-known face on the local football scene as he played for a number of clubs including Rothwell Town, Desborough Town and Stewarts & Lloyds as well as the Steelmen.
Most recently, he managed Stanion Quantum Print in the Northants Combination.
Brown leaves behind his wife Leanne and their two young daughters Marni and Bella.
He and former Kettering Town skipper Dempster, a Corby lad, were close friends for a number of years.
And Dempster said: “Andy was one of those guys who was literally the life and soul of the party. He lived life with a smile on his face and was always trying to make people laugh.
“He had settled down recently and his girls were everything to him.
“I watched him play numerous times and he had a cracking right foot, was great in the air and an aggressive player.
“He was one of those guys who was well liked wherever he played. It is an absolute tragedy what has happened.”
Dunion first had Brown with him at Cottingham and then at Corby and the former Steelmen manager was as stunned as anyone with the tragic news.
“I heard about it quite early and it was one of those where you had to check it a number of times because it was so unbelievable,” Dunion said.
“I know Andy was really enjoying things with Stanion Quantum Print. It is devastating for everyone, particularly his family.
“I first signed him when I was at Cottingham and when I got the Corby job he was one of the first to come through the door. He played for me, on and off, for three or four years.
“And he played the way he lived. He got stuck into every challenge and he was happy-go-lucky. He was one of the comedians in the dressing-room.
“But he always respected authority. He was never difficult to manage and would never be late for training or matches.
“The one thing a lot of people have said about him from a footballing point of view is that he didn’t realise how good he was. And that is so true.”
The Steelmen will pay their own tribute to Brown by holding a minute’s applause ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Hinckley United.
And a group of Corby fans will also be collecting donations towards a memorial brick at Steel Park for Brown.
A benefit match in Brown’s memory is taking place at Steel Park on Sunday, December 16 (1pm).
It will be followed by a raffle and a gathering to celebrate his life at the Best Western Hotel in Corby. And all money raised will go straight to his wife and children.