Former Forfar Athletic assistant manager Frank Kopel has died at the age of 65. He had been suffering from vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Frank was a native of Falkirk, and he and his wife, Amanda, lived latterly in Kirriemuir.
He had an illustrious career as a footballer, one highlight of which, despite his role as a defender, was the goal which levelled the scores when Dundee United played Anderlecht in the Uefa Cup in 1973.
As a 16-year-old he was signed by Sir Matt Busby for Manchester United. While at Old Trafford he made 12 first team appearances and played in the same side as the likes of Denis Law, George Best and Bobby Charlton.
He then had three seasons with Blackburn Rovers before signing for Dundee United in 1972. During his 10 years at Tannadice he was twice in a League Cup-winning side.
Frank’s final club was Arbroath, where he became assistant manager before taking up a similar post at Forfar Athletic.
Six years ago Frank was diagnosed with dementia, which led to Amanda giving up work to be his carer.
This led her to conduct a high-profile campaign to bring to the attention of the Scottish Government the plight of ‘younger’ dementia sufferers.
Just a few weeks ago the Health Secretary, Alex Neil, visited Frank and Amanda at their home in Kirriemuir, after which he said the visit: “reaffirmed my view that we need to go further to ensure that carers receive the support they deserve.”
Frank is survived by Amanda, his wife of exactly 45 years, and son Scott.
Scott followed in his father’s footsteps at Tannadice and had a spell as a player at Station Park under Tommy Campbell, scoring a memorable televised goal against Queen of the South in a Scottish Cup tie.
Today (Wednesday, April 23, there will be a celebration of his life at the Old Parish Church, Kirriemuir, starting at 1 p.m., to which all family and friends are invited. (Family flowers only).
A number of tributes were paid to Frank, including one from Tannadice which stated: “An indication of the affection with which he was held by all Arabs is the fact that a supporters’ club was named in his honour.”
TV presenter and United fan, Lorraine Kelly, said: “We are all thinking of Amanda and her family, and everyone who loved Frank.”
Manchester United posted a tribute on their website.
Forfar Athletic’s tribute concluded: “The sympathy of all connected with Forfar Athletic are extended at this sad time to Amanda, Scott and his family.”