Belfast Telegraph

Glentoran FC family mourning the death of super fan Eric (51)

By Allan Preston

Glentoran fans will today say goodbye to one of the team's most dedicated supporters and fundraisers, Omagh man Eric Graham.

Mr Graham, a former chairman for the Cookstown Glens Supporters Club (CGSC), died after a heart attack on Sunday at the age of just 51.

He is survived by his wife Susan and daughters Hannah and Rachel.

His funeral takes place today at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Omagh followed by interment in Fintona New Cemetery.

Michael RJ Wilson, current chair of the CGSC, said the "devastation left behind has swept throughout Tyrone and far further afield".

"He travelled 25 miles every Saturday night to our meetings in Cookstown no matter what - he was that dedicated," Mr Wilson said.

"When they brought him back yesterday he was wearing his Glentoran top with the scarf beside him - we're all just broken-hearted." He added that Mr Graham had persuaded many to donate and join the supporters' club with his tireless enthusiasm.

"His two girls were the team mascots once against Derry City, around 2009. He was so proud of them running out at The Oval," he added.

"Shortly after that there was a testimonial and we brought a team down from Cookstown. Eric did goals.

"For him to walk out on that pitch, the big man was grinning the whole time.

"He was absolutely useless in goals, but he loved being on the hallowed turf of The Oval."

Another happy occasion was when 14 players went to Cookstown for a dinner with local fans.

"Eric and his two girls got their picture with all the players. He just had that picture plastered all over the house," he said.

Mr Graham had originally worked as a welder before becoming an engineer.

"He cycled and was a fit fella, but he had two jobs, and worked for labourers. He worked every hour the Lord gave him," said Mr Wilson.

"We were both old rockers as well. Between Man United, Glentoran and Status Quo we had a lot in common, so it's really hurting."

Glentoran added their condolences on the club website.

"The Tyrone men are a fantastic example of committed supporters, making a minimum 90-mile round trip to east Belfast week in and week out in all conditions," the tribute read.

"Eric has always been prominent among them and will be sadly and deeply missed by all of his travelling friends."

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