Sunderland skipper John O'Shea has paid an emotional tribute to Liam Miller, who passed away last week aged just 36.
The pair were team-mates at Manchester United and came through the international youth ranks together with the Republic of Ireland.
Miller passed away last week after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Players, managers and coaching staff from Sunderland and Bristol City wore black armbands at Ashton Gate in his memory and Sunderland fans chanted Miller’s name in tribute.
His funeral was held in Ireland earlier this week, attended by O'Shea and Aiden McGeady as well as former Sunderland managers Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane.
"Liam was a good friend and an even better team-mate," wrote O'Shea in his programme notes for this weekend's game with Brentford.
"He and I first met when we were in the Irish U-15s and played through all the youth levels together, including winning the European Championships as under-16s.
"Before I chose to go to Manchester United, I almost joined Liam at Celtic.
"I was very close to going there. Liam and Jim Goodwin were there – two lads I’d played with in the Irish team – and the fact we’d got on so well was one of the reasons I was seriously thinking about joining.
"Liam later joined me at Manchester United and we had a fantastic time there.
"He was well liked at all his clubs – including Sunderland, where he played a key part in getting the club back into the Premier League.
"Liam’s ability on the ball was there for everyone to see. His timing of runs and passing was quality and he had a good knack for getting goals too.
"The big thing, though, was his personality. Maybe people thought he was quiet. Believe me – Liam was far from it. If there was mischief going on, he was never far away.
"It’s so sad that Liam has left us so soon.
"The amount of people at his funeral speaks volumes about him as a person.
"He had so many more things to look forward to in life. He had started to coach and had a beautiful family to be a part of and watch grow, and now that has been taken away."
Miller, who made 60 appearances for Sunderland between 2006-2009, played an integral role in the promotion as Championship title winners in 2006-07 under Roy Keane.
He scored three goals for Sunderland, most notably a last-minute strike from just outside the box to rescue a 2-2 draw at Middlesbrough in 2007.
Miller, who also played for Hibs and QPR before moving abroad, won 21 caps for the Republic of Ireland.