"He was my best mate. He called me his brother" - an emotional John on the passing of a Town legend
A clearly emotional John Wark has paid his respects to his ‘brother’ in football, Paul Mariner.
Town legend and former England international, Mariner, has passed away at the age of 68 and speaking to the Club website, John admitted even though he knew the day was coming, it is hard to take in.
“I have seen Paul over recent weeks and it’s been hard and then when the news came through, it’s tough to take,” John told www.itfc.co.uk.
“Obviously my thoughts are with his family and what they are going through and it’s difficult to talk about it at the moment.
“He was my best mate. As a footballer he was unbelievable. He came into the Club and made a difference immediately.
“He could hold the ball up, scores goals. He’d take all the knocks for us. He made us a better team - and he helped me so much as well.
“As a person, he was even better than he was as a player and that is saying something. Bobby [Robson] put us together as room-mates and it just went boom from there.
“He was so bubbly. He was the loud one in the dressing-room, the one that got everyone going. The boys loved him, we all did.
“He called me his ‘brother’. That’s how close we were and we stayed in touch, even when he went to America. I can’t speak highly enough of him as a footballer but even more so as a person.”
The Town players will wear black armbands and there will be a minute's applause as a mark of respect to Mariner when Blues take on Dartford in the first pre-season game this afternoon.