Born: May 3, 1942;

Died: March 20, 2015;

Eddie Mulheron, who has died aged 72, was a well-known Scottish footballer of the 1960s and early 70s who went on to make a name for himself in South African football where his stance against racism in sport was widely appreciated.

A one-club man, he played 259 games for Clyde, mostly at full back and was a key member of their famous team of 1966/7 which finished third in the old first division behind Celtic and Rangers. That of course was the season Celtic won the European cup while Rangers narrowly lost out in the Cup Winners' Cup Final and for a part time team like Clyde to finish third was an outstanding achievement. Bureaucracy denied them their place in the next season's Fairs Cup but Dundee, who replaced them, reached the semi final, leaving Clyde fans wondering about what might have been.

Eddie Mulheron was a hard tackling, uncompromising left back and part of a regular back four also featuring Glasgow, McHugh and Staite. Other regulars included Stan Anderson, Tommy McCulloch, Joe Gilroy and Harry Hood. The whole team was inducted into the Clyde FC Hall of Fame recently when the surviving members including Mulheron were present.

He was born into a family of Irish descent in Drumoyne, Glasgow and began his football career with well known junior club Benburb FC from whom he joined Clyde in 1963 when he was 21.Throughout his Clyde career (his last game was against Ayr United in 1972) he was part time and combined football with a job as clerk in a Glasgow solicitors' office, McVey, McManus and Reilly. As one prominent fan of the time noted, "We all had our own favourite players but everyone liked Eddie; he united all the Clyde fans behind the team."

Like a number of Scottish players nearing the end of their careers, Mulheron went out to South Africa in 1972 to play for Durban United and stayed for 41 years. Teammates there included Rangers players Willie Henderson, Ronnie Mackinnon and Craig Watson.

After two seasons and some 50 games for United, his playing career came to an abrupt end when he was banned sine die for striking a referee in a haze of red mist. Son Sean commented "My dad never spoke about the incident but I understand the club advised him not to attend the disciplinary panel held that same evening with the result there were no representations on his behalf."

He was then engaged as a coach by Manning Rangers, a community team in the black community outwith the main South African football body and this almost led to his being deported. The apartheid regime was still very much in power then.

One day when he was working at the ground which was in a segregated community, police appeared and questioned him about his presence there, which was off limits for whites. He was told he had broken the law, was taken into police custody and warned he would be deported within three days. The club owner engaged a lawyer on his behalf with the result he was released from custody after two nights and a deal was reached permitting him to stay on.

Throughout his time there, he continued coaching, latterly amateur clubs, while working in the security industry. He was a stout opponent of apartheid, a regime he despised, and on occasion took considerable risk flouting the law to be with his teams in segregated areas. A former player of his, Super Naidu recalled how when the team travelled by train Mulheron would be given a first class ticket whereas the team had to travel second class but Mulheron would insist on travelling with the team; on occasions the team would conceal him behind their large kit hampers till officials had passed.

Through his football and likeable personality, Mulheron became widely known throughout Durban. As another of his ex players Buddy Govender said in a tribute "Eddie mixed with all classes and had respect for all. He was one of the first to break down barriers of racism in South African sport and is considered a pioneer in levelling the playing fields of segregated sport. A few years back he was deservedly inducted as a South African Federation Football Legend. He was a 'man of men', without airs and graces, and had class, morals and ethics. A superb motivator and the best of company."

Two years ago, he returned to Scotland to live, the first time he had been back since leaving. Despite that long absence he remained Scottish to the core and had kept his Scottish accent; his son Sean remembers he used to say, "That's not for sale!"

He reconnected with Clyde and was a popular guest at club functions while his love of football continued unabated with his coaching the Erskine Boys Club u/15s team till recently.

He is survived by his wife Marie, sons Brian, Paul and Sean and daughter Jaclyn.