PUNDIT: Hayley McQueen and her father Gordon, below. BOY BLUE: Gordon McQueen nurses the knee injury that prevented him appearing for Scotland in the 1978 Argentina World Cup. Picture: SNS
The 59-year-old former Manchester United and Leeds United defender is to undergo treatment at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, near his home in north Yorkshire.
The news has been greeted with a wave of sympathy from former teammates and colleagues, who said they were all praying for his swift recovery.
A statement released by McQueen’s family yesterday said: “Gordon McQueen has been diagnosed with cancer of the larynx and will undergo treatment at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.”
A towering centre-back, McQueen went on to carve out a coaching career after retiring from playing and most recently enjoyed spells as a pundit with Sky Sports, where his daughter Hayley is a presenter.
His most famous moment in the dark blue shirt came when he scored in a victory over England at Wembley in 1977, a match that was followed by a pitch invasion by the Tartan Army, who carried off the famous ground’s goal posts and lumps of its turf.
Bruce Rioch, who captained Scotland that day, said the news of his old teammate’s illness had come as a “complete shock”.
He said: “It’s tragic to hear this has happened to Gordon. My thoughts are with him and his family at this time. We wish him every success in overcoming this illness.
“He’s a fantastic man and I played both with him, in the national team, and against him when he was at Leeds and I was at Derby.”
“Gordon is a great guy on the field and was a huge presence in the dressing room. He’s always been a fighter and I’m sure he will be able to fight this off too.”
Former Scotland goalkeeper Alan Rough agreed. He said: “If he fights this like he fought on the football park I’m sure he will pull through. My thoughts are with him and I wish him all the best and a quick recovery.”
McQueen still has close ties with Manchester United, making regular appearances on the club’s official television channel, MUTV.
A statement on the club’s website said: “Everybody at Manchester United would like to wish Gordon a very speedy recovery.”
McQueen won 30 caps for Scotland. Despite helping them qualify for the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, he did not play due to injury, and retired from international football in 1981, having scored five goals.
The Kilbirnie-born star, whose father Tommy played in goal for Hibs, rose to fame after joining Don Revie’s much-revered and reviled Leeds United from St Mirren as a teenager in 1972.
He spent the majority of his career in England and was part of the famous Elland Road side of the 1970s that won the league title and reached the European Cup final.
He was portrayed in the controversial 2009 film about the club, The Damned United.
After moving to Manchester United, he formed a lasting friendship with club captain, Bryan Robson.
McQueen was a member of Robson’s coaching staff during his spell at Middlesbrough and, until recently, was employed by the club as a scout. He also had a spell managing Airdrie and coached at St Mirren.