Belfast Telegraph

Sporting world mourns Sam McCullough

Sam McCullough – the man who sent Pat Jennings on his way to a distinguished career in professional football – has passed away at the age of 88.

The highly respected Newry businessman negotiated Big Pat's transfer from Newry Town to Watford back in 1963 – for the sum of £7,650.

The goalkeeper, of course, went on to make a name for himself with Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal as well as starring for Northern Ireland, including playing in the 1986 World Cup at the age of 41.

Although his work as an insurance broker took up much of his life, Sam served the border club as a chairman, president and trustee.

"I remember Sam coming to me one night at Newry and telling me that there were a couple of clubs interested in me," said Jennings.

"Watford had been in touch and Jimmy Hill – who was manager of Coventry at the time. Sam got the deal done and he looked after me as well as the club."

Football wasn't the only sport he enjoyed, he also served as chairman, president and trustee of Newry Olympic hockey club and was a generous sponsor for Ulster Hockey who were saddened to hear of his passing.

He celebrated his 67th wedding anniversary just three weeks ago but passed away peacefully on Saturday.

He is survived by his wife Betty Irene, sons Neil, Nigel, Brian and Roger, nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

His funeral will take place today St Luke's Church of Ireland, Mullaghglass at 2pm

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