Following Monday night’s tribute match for Alan McDonald, which saw a QPR XI beat a Northern Ireland XI 3-2 in Belfast, Michael Hughes spoke exclusively with www.qpr.co.uk about his memories of the former defender.
Hughes, who represented his country between 1991 and 2004, said: “I roomed with Alan a few times for Northern Ireland trips and I have many, many fond memories of him.
“He was a funny guy who always had a quip for everyone. He was very good at taking you down a peg or two.
“At the time there were a few of the younger lads – myself included – who were perceived as being a little boisterous. I don’t know why! Anyway, if that was the case you were made to room with Alan!
“He would have a few chats with you and calm you down a bit. Did it work? Absolutely. We didn’t dare step out of line!”
While he adopted a no-nonsense approach on the pitch, it seems McDonald was a very different character away from matchdays.
“He was a gentleman, a total and utter gentleman,” Hughes explained. “He was very down-to-earth, very sincere and very helpful.
“Whenever a young player came into the Northern Ireland squad he was always the first person over to welcome them in and make them feel at home.
“Nothing was too much trouble for Alan. If you wanted to have a chat, he was always there to give plenty of advice. He was great for the young lads.
“He was an absolute legend.”