It was announced that Stirling had passed away this week, the Lichties, a club he was synonymous with, saying their thoughts were immediately with his friends and family.
Stirling joined the club as a 17-year-old old in July 1960, signing from another local side, the Arbroath Lads Club.
After just a few years with the Lichties his stature grew and he was appointed as the side’s captain at just 21.
His long association with Arbroath would see him go on to make 380 appearances for the club in all competitions.
He scored 41 goals before retiring in 1971.
His league appearance total is the third highest post war behind Tom Cargill and Steve Florence.
Current club chairman Mike Caird said: “Ian, who was a familiar face in the boardroom for many years, was an absolute gentleman.
"He had great knowledge of the game and took pleasure in the success of his football club. He will be sorely missed by everyone.”
Stirling’s prowess for Arbroath was felt at both ends of the park.
Originally joining as a forward, scoring 20 goals in 26 games during the 1961-62 season, he was later to be moved into defence as an imposing centre half.
But he continued to find the net for the club, often from the penalty spot.
One of the highlights of his career was a hat-trick against Ayr United.
Other highlights included playing against Celtic in the Scottish Cup in 1967.
Stirling was captain of the promotion winning side of 1967-1968, later describing the achievement as a “great experience”.
Stirling retired when he was 28 because of business and family commitments but he subsequently joined the club committee and served as chairman from 1979 until 1987.
Ian was known around Arbroath and Angus for his farm at Dickmontlaw.
A club statement added: “The thoughts of everyone at the club and from our supporters all over the world go out to his family, his wife, Florence and their children - Peter, Lisa, Emma, Katie, Guy and Nicola.”
Additional info courtesy of