August 5, 1930 – September 26, 2015
Alastair MacDonald (both corr), a Press and Journal sports journalist and Dons fanatic who was lucky enough to see and write about his beloved club’s most famous and successful years, has died aged 85.
Mr MacDonald was the paper’s sports editor at the time Aberdeen were a force to be feared in European football and witnessed the “Gothenburg glory” of 1983 when the team beat Real Madrid to lift the European Cup Winner’s Cup.
His career also saw him follow the Tartan Army around the world with Mr MacDonald travelling to watch Scotland’s performances in four world cups
A native of Buckie, he was born into a family whose distinguished journalistic heritage stretches back to the late 1860s.
He was first introduced to the trade by his late father, William John Black Macdonald, J.P., in the 1940s, when he worked for the Banffshire Advertiser until he was called up in January, 1949, to do his national service in the Royal Navy.
Released after 18 months, Mr MacDonald joined Aberdeen Journals in the autumn of 1950, where he worked in the newsroom in Broad Street.
In 1956, as part of a post-war education programme run by the Institute of Journalists, he won a prize for his thesis, entitled “The Fishing Industry in the North Sea”.
A couple of years later, a vacancy arose on the sports desk and he grasped this opportunity with enthusiasm.
In the early 1970s, Alastair was appointed sports editor and chief reporter and there began the many highlights of his professional career.
Apart from football, Alastair’s other great sporting passion was golf.
He was a member of Deeside Golf Club and upon his retirement in 1989, he was elected secretary.
In 1957, Mar MacDonald married Irene Elsie Helen Mitchell, who later became a primary school teacher, in King’s College Chapel. She predeceased him in 2003.
He is survived by their three married children – Calum, who started as a journalist at the P&J and twins Shona and Morag.
Alastair was sports editor when the Press and Journal’s current chief sports sub-editor George Bremner started with the paper.
Mr Bremner remembers Mr MacDonald well for the total professional that he was.
George said: “Alastair gave me great support and encouragement when I joined the P&J and was always a great source of information and reference point when you needed any facts and figures on many sporting issues and, of course, Aberdeen FC.
“He took great pride in his main role of covering the fortunes of the Dons and was meticulous in recording all the facts and figures on the Dons and collating them in his own personal records, right down to the fortunes of the reserve team.
“He was a journalist in the old-school mould and was well respected and trusted by his colleagues and the Dons managers and players of his time, helping Aberdeen greats Alex Ferguson and Willie Miller with their early books.”
Former Gothenburg hero Willie Miller also paid tribute to the man.
He said: “There was never any friction with Alastair because you could always trust his reports to be fair and factually correct.
“He will be missed.”