HEREFORD United giantkiller Mick McLaughlin, who died on Sunday, aged 72, has been described as a “man’s man” whom you want to have with you in the trenches.

McLaughlin, also known as Mike, was part of the Bulls team who famously beat Newcastle United 2-1 in one of the biggest FA Cup shocks of all time in 1972. The Welsh defender, who also had two spells at Newport County and even played rugby union after becoming disenchanted with the game, then captained the Bulls when they were elected into the Football League and made 84 Football League appearances.

Hereford FC will pay tribute to him by having a minute’s applause prior to this Saturday’s FA Vase game against Brocton.

Colin Addison, who was player-manager of the Hereford side that slayed the Magpies, said McLaughlin was a true leader.

“I always kept in touch with him after I left the club and moved around in my management career,” said Addison.

“I had a lot of time for the guy and it is a very sad week. Over the last 12 months, I went down to Newport quite regularly to see him and have a game of golf – we had a great relationship. I was with him at the Royal Gwent Hospital last Thursday and I was glad I did. He was a great man – a man’s man.

“He was a solid defender and a great character to have around.

“He was resilient and a leader of men, he was a winner. He didn’t understand the meaning of defeat and wouldn’t accept it.

“He was a very inspirational person both on and off the field.”

Legend has it McLaughlin travelled back on the supporters’ train after the Bulls drew with Newcastle in the first game and grabbed a couple of hours’ sleep in his car at Edgar Street after arriving back at around 4am before getting up to work in Newport.

“After the game, we were all celebrating and having a few beers when he said, ‘Colin, I’m travelling back on the supporters' train’,” explained Addison.

“I said, ‘what do you mean? We’re going to have a few beers’.

“He said, ‘no, I’ve just taken over a new job in Newport and I’ve got to be back’.”

Addison added that he even said he would ring McLaughlin’s boss Norman Hughes to explain the situation, but McLaughlin stood his ground.

“That said everything about Mick McLaughlin and I have always respected him for it,” Addison added.

Tony Gough was the Hereford captain, but left the Bulls at the end of the 1971/72 season after United were elected into the Football League.

McLaughlin subsequently stepped into the role and helped his side achieve promotion despite a poor start.

“We went full-time and needed a new captain,” said Addison.

“Mike was always up for it and when I told him, his eyes lit up.

“We was very inspirational and made a massive difference to us eventually getting promoted.”

Ricky George, who scored the winning goal against Newcastle in the replay, described McLaughlin as “the iron man”.

“When I first went into professional football, there were always analogies trotted out and one of them was, ‘who would you stand next to in the trenches?’,” said George.

“I remembered that throughout my football career and there were a number of players in that Hereford team that I would go in the trenches with, Mike being one of them.

“I have called him ‘the iron man’ because that is what he was like.”

Ronnie Radford, who scored the famous equaliser against Newcastle in the replay, added that McLaughlin would have been pleased with how Hereford FC are doing.

“We all had a special bond and set such high standards,” said Radford.

“He really did lead by example.”

And Peter Isaac, who was the physio of the giantkillers, added that McLaughlin was “one of the good guys”.

“If you needed a battle, he was the man and he would always give 100 per cent,” said Isaac.