Highly-respected Gifford a real loss to local game
It was with great sadness that his many friends and colleagues in local football learned of the death on Sunday, following a short illness, of former Bangor FC chairman and president of the Irish League, Gifford McConkey, just three days after his 79th birthday.
Gifford's name was synonymous with Bangor Football Club, and his loss will be felt by followers of the Seasiders especially. Under Gifford's stewardship, Bangor enjoyed their best ever seasons in the local game - including an Irish Cup win, runners-up spot in the league and three trips to take part in European football in the space of four years.
Gifford was a familiar figure at Clandeboye Park for seven decades and possessed an infectious enthusiasm for the game. He played for Bangor Young Men and Bangor Parish in junior football, and also for Bangor Reserves. A schoolteacher by profession, he combined his love of teaching with a passion for football, earning his schoolboy coaching qualifications. However, it was as an administrator that Gifford became best known and respected in the local game.
From supporter he graduated to become a board member at Bangor FC under former Irish League president and club chairman Jimmy Apperson, and then succeeded Victor Haslett as club chairman in 1987. Gifford certainly achieved his stated ambition of "giving Bangor a football club of which the town could be proud".
After eight years in office Gifford decided to take a back-seat role. He served as vice-president of the Irish League from May 1991 and was elected president of the league in 1997, serving until 2000.
A devoted family man, Gifford is survived by wife Elizabeth, son Christopher and daughter Amanda.