Forbes Johnston

Professional footballer and accountant

Born: 3 August, 1971, in Aberdeen Died: 12 July 2007, in Adelaide

FORBES Johnston's untimely death ended a life rich in a variety of professional and personal experiences. He was best known for his footballing skills, but living his boyhood dream was combined with a successful academic career and a notable professional reputation. However, it was his personal qualities that made him stand out from the crowd, bringing to his family, friends and colleagues a dry sense of humour, a warmth, humility and old-fashioned politeness that will be long remembered.

Born the middle of three sons to Ruby and Roy in Aberdeen, it was when the family moved south to Chester that he first showed his natural football ability, playing for school, club and county teams.

When the family moved back to Scotland, Forbes's sporting achievements ranked beside his academic, and he excelled at Balerno High School, on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

After a gap year, during which he worked as a copy boy at The Scotsman, he went on to study law at Edinburgh University where he successfully managed to live student life to the full as well as being a part-time professional player at Falkirk FC, which he joined from Musselburgh Athletic in September 1990.

It was a mark of his modesty that most of his fellow students did not realise that, as well as winning class prizes on his way to obtaining an honours degree, he was also chosen to play for Scotland at youth and under-21 levels, and represented Great Britain at two World Student Games.

After university, Forbes played professionally for six years. He made 58 appearances for Falkirk, scoring two goals, before moving on to Airdrieonians in 1996. He played his last senior match in 2000, after 99 first-team games for Airdrie in which he scored three goals.

He was capped for Scotland at under-21 level in March 1993, against Iceland. University examinations prevented him from making more international appearances. It is indicative of how highly he was regarded in the game that upon hearing that there was news about Forbes last month, several football fans later noted on websites that they had hoped to discover that he was to return to their team.

Forbes's commitment to football meant he was injury-prone and knee problems eventually led to him retiring from the sport prematurely.

Changing direction, he decided on a career in accountancy and gained his CA qualifications with PWC in Edinburgh. When an opportunity arose to be seconded to Australia, Forbes moved to the company's Sydney office, then on to Adelaide. His sense of fun and loyalty meant that he made new friends easily, while keeping in close contact with old friends and family. He also played football again with Adelaide City.

Only a few weeks before his death, he left PWC and moved into industry, joining the head office of Adelaide Brighton, a large Australian company.

Forbes leaves a large and international contingent of loving family, friends and fans, particularly his parents, his brothers and his girlfriend, Sarah. They will all miss his charm, loyalty and friendship. A memorial service will be held at Balerno High School at 1:30pm on Friday.