He was a man with a Bunteresque appetite for football who inspired affection throughout the north east.
So there were rich tributes yesterday, following the death of Brian Christie at just 59.
As secretary of the Aberdeenshire and District FA and former secretary of the Aberdeenshire Amateur FA, Mr Christie, who was affectionately nicknamed “Sumo”, also used to referee games in the Highland League.
Alan Still, former chairman of the ADFA summed up the sense of loss when he described his friend as “one of the nicest fellas in football.”
“He was secretary of the Aberdeenshire and District FA when I was president and he was the backbone of the association and was a fine individual in every way.
“My thoughts are with his family and close friends. Everyone lost a close friend today.”
Current chairman of the ADFA and president of Buckie Thistle, Garry Farquhar echoed these sentiments and said Mr Christie’s death as a “big loss” to football in the region.
He added: “I am deeply saddened by it all and he was a very good secretary for the ADFA and he will be badly missed.
“He will be a big loss to the football in the north-east as he was not only the secretary for the ADFA but also heavily involved with amateur football here as well.”
Veteran Press and Journal Highland League reporter, Dave Edwards, also paid tribute to Mr Christie, and said: “Brian, or ‘Sumo’ as he was affectionately known to all followers of Highland League football, was a larger than life character.
“I first met him more than 30 years ago when he was a Highland league referee, and a very good one, but he was also a superb administrator and the game in this part of the world will be poorer for his passing. My deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends at this sad time.”
Tributes continued to pour in for Mr Christie through social media yesterday as Highland League team Keith posted a statement online.
It read: “Keith Football Club were saddened to learn that Brian Christie, secretary of the Aberdeenshire & District FA, and friend of the club passed away earlier this morning.
“All our thoughts are with his family and friends at this very sad time.”
Mike Macaulay, former president of the ADFA said: “I was president for four years and Brian made the job so easy and kept you right on every occasion.
“He was a pleasure to work with and was straight-talking telling you when you were right or wrong and he became a pal for four years not just a colleague.
“I’m very disappointed and this will be a such a loss to football in the north-east.”