Ebbsfleet United have described themselves as “shocked and saddened” after the passing of former player and assistant manager Paul McCarthy, at the age of forty five.
The former Oxford United and Wycombe Wanderers player led the Fleet to their FA Trophy Final triumph against Torquay United in 2008.
A year after their Wembley triumph McCarthy became player-manager of the Fleet, working under manager Liam Daish.
Cork-born McCarthy began his career with Brighton and Hove Albion, making one hundred and eighty one appearances for the Seagulls between 1989 and 1996.
A move to Wycombe Wanderers saw the centre back spend the next seven years with the Chairboys, writing his name into their club history with a famous FA Cup goal.
Wanderers faced a trip to Premier League Leicester City in the Quarter Finals of the competition in 2001 and pulled off an almighty giantkilling.
McCarthy got their opening goal in a 2-1 win at Filbert Street, with substitute Roy Essandoh getting a late winner to send the club into a semi-final against Liverpool.
McCarthy moved on to Oxford United in 2003, initially on loan, but the move was later made permanent.
After a year with the U’s he joined Hornchurch in 2004, however when the club were hit by financial issues he moved to Ebbsfleet United.
His time with the Fleet saw him become club captain, leading them to their Trophy final win in 2008, before going on to become player-assistant manager of the club.
He also had a short spell as caretaker manager when Andy Ford left the club in 2005.
The club released an emotional statement on Monday morning, paying tribute to a club legend.
It read “Ebbsfleet United FC are shocked and saddened to learn of the news about our FA Trophy-winning captain and former assistant Paul McCarthy, who died suddenly yesterday at the age of 45.
Quite apart from going down in Fleet history as the man who lifted the Trophy at Wembley in 2008, Paul was a well-loved and popular figure throughout his long association with the club.
Andy Ford brought Paul to the Fleet from Hornchurch in November 2004 after the defender had enjoyed a long Football League career with Brighton & Hove Albion, Oxford United and Wycombe Wanderers, with whom he scored in an FA Cup giantkilling of Leicester City alongside Roy Essandoh.
The Corkman was an ex-Republic of Ireland U21 international and served the Fleet for a spell as caretaker manager in between Ford’s departure and the arrival of Liam Daish. As club captain under Daish, he went on to play 162 games, his most memorable of course being his goal in the Trophy semi-final v Aldershot Town and then that great day at Wembley when he lifted the FA Trophy in front of 40,000 people.
In summer 2009 he became player/assistant manager to Daish, hanging up his boots a short time into the 2009/10 season, his last game being at Barrow in October 2009. He formed a great partnership with his former manager and the two masterminded Fleet’s return to the Conference via the 2011 promotion final.
Following his departure from the Fleet in 2013 after almost a decade at Stonebridge Road, he enjoyed a spell at Crowborough.
All of us at the club, many of whom will remember working alongside Paul in his time here, are deeply saddened by the news and extend our most heartfelt sympathies to his family at this time as we’re sure do all the club’s fans who remember him warmly as a person and a great servant at Stonebridge Road”
Article: Mark Carruthers (@marknldaily)
Image: Reuters Media