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LOU MACARI'S AGONY AS SON HANGS HIMSELF; He couldn't live up to his father's greatness.

THE teenage son of Scots football legend Lou Macari has been found hanged from a tree not far from the family home.

Family friend and the boy's former football manager, Dave Bassett, said: "He didn't think he wanted the pressure of living up to his dad's greatness."

Tragic Jonathan Macari's body was discovered yesterday by two people on their way to work.

Detectives immediately cordoned off the area, just 300 yards from his home in Trentham, near Stoke-on-Trent, as they launched a probe into the 19-year-old's death.

But Staffordshire police later issued a statement saying therewere no suspicious circumstances.

It is thought the teenager - who left Premiership club Nottingham Forest as an apprentice striker last summer - hanged himself because he could not live up to his father's legacy.

Jonathan - known to everyone as Jon - joined Forest on a Youth Training Scheme but quit a year before his apprenticeship was due to finish - despite pleas from Forest manager Bassett.

Last night, a shocked Bassett told how he pleaded with the boy to stay.

He said: "Jon was a great player with decent potential but he just seemed to stagnate and lose interest.

"We sat him down, his dad and I, and we tried to convince him he had a future, but he didn't want to know. "

He added: "There was talk of him going into the Army.

"He was a nice lad and this is a great tragedy."

Still unemployed almost a year after turning his back on football, Jonathan hanged himself late on Wednesday.

The devastating news was broken to ex-Celtic star Lou yesterday morning at the Sheffield United training ground where he is currently assistant manager.

Last night, after spending hours talking with officers, heartbroken Lou and his Kentucky-born wife, Dale, were being comforted by Jonathan's older brothers Mike and Paul and friends of the family.

Answering the door to callers, Mike, 26, said: "We are all very distressed and wish to be left alone to grieve together as a family."

In Scotland, Lou's former Celtic colleagues Billy McNeil and David Hay were all shocked by the tragedy.

Billy told the Scottish Mirror: "My sympathies go out to Lou and Dale.

"It's inconceivable that these things can happen but unfortunately they do."

David added: "I've known Lou since he was a boy. What can you say about something like this happening to him?

"I can hardly believe that it's happened and I would like to offer my deepest sympathies."
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Author:Kane, Patricia
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 30, 1999
Words:410
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