SWINDON Town legend Alan McLoughlin has died at the age of 54.

McLoughlin revealed in March that he had been diagnosed with a type of kidney cancer after successfully recovering from a kidney tumour in 2012.

Alan Mac as he was affectionately known, made 136 appearances for Town, finding the net 25 times. He will forever remain a Swindon hero for grabbing the winner in the 1990 play-off final against Sunderland at Wembley Stadium.

The Irishman worked as Town’s academy manager following a playing career that saw him run out for Portsmouth, Wigan Athletic and Southampton, among others. He famously scored the goal against Northern Ireland that took the Republic of Ireland to the 1994 World Cup and won 42 caps for his country between 1990 and 1999.

Swindon Town joined McLoughlin’s former clubs Portsmouth, Wigan Athletic and Southampton in expressing their sadness at the news, while a host of devastated former teammates and players spoke of their loss.

McLoughlin’s country led the tributes with a short but sincere message which read: “The FAI join Ireland fans everywhere in remembering the great Alan McLoughlin on this sad day for Irish football. We will always have that night in November. RIP Alan.”

Former Liverpool and Republic of Ireland striker John Aldridge paid his own tribute. He said: “Absolutely gutted to hear my old teammate with the ROI Alan McLoughlin has passed away! What a great bloke and a player he was. I’ll always remember his famous goal against Northern Ireland at Windsor park in a 1-1 draw that got us to USA 94. RIP Topman.”

Ex-Town goalkeeper Phil Smith said: “Rest in peace Macca, you gave me a chance and believed in me when I needed it most on more than one occasion! Thank you.”

First-year pro Massimo Giamattei echoed a number of his current and former youth academy peers with his tribute. He said: “RIP Macca, great coach and a great person, wouldn’t be in my position without your help, thank you for everything.”

Ex-Swindon striker Sam Parkin said: “Terribly saddened by this. Great fella. Loved bumping into him at the County Ground and talking football. Thinking of his family.”

Town fans also had their say on the late club legend. London Paolo said: “Very sad day for family, friends and supporters. Alan will always be remembered as one of our best players in what I think was the best Swindon Town team of all time (the one managed by Ossie Ardiles cruelly denied promotion by the FA/FL).”