Belfast Telegraph

Cliftonville and Linfield pay tribute to two well-known figures

Paddy Madden
Paddy Madden
Leslie Neill
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

Cliftonville Football Club is mourning the loss of its "larger-than-life" former groundsman, Patrick 'Paddy' Madden.

Mr Madden (74) passed away on Wednesday at his home in north Belfast surrounded by his family.

He grew up in Lepper Street in the New Lodge and was a regular at Cliftonville's Solitude ground before he had reached double figures.

In a statement, the club said Mr Madden would be fondly recalled for his dedication to the Reds, for whom he never hesitated to go above and beyond the call of duty.

"Such was his commitment to serving the club he loved that nobody was ever truly able to keep count of the amount of times Paddy would work long into the night and, seeing no sense in returning home for a brief spell before reporting back for duty the following morning, would simply resign himself to sleeping at Solitude!" a spokesman said.

Predeceased by his wife Jean (nee Kennedy) in May, Mr Madden is survived by his sons Brian, Patrick and Darren.

His funeral mass will take place at 10am on Tuesday at St Patrick's Church, Donegall Street followed by cremation in Roselawn at 11.30am.

Meanwhile Linfield Football Club has paid tribute to lifelong fan, Leslie Neill, who has passed away, aged 95.

At the age of eight, Mr Neill was brought by his father and other relatives to the 1931 Christmas game at Windsor Park. From that day on, he became a proud supporter of the Blues.

His favourite viewing position was the 18 yard line at the Railway Stand end where, over the years, he witnessed many Linfield legends playing for the shirt.

Paying tribute, his close friend Greg Henderson said that, over the years, Mr Neill made lasting friendships with many fellow fans who will be very sorry to learn of his passing.

Mr Henderson said: "He recalled many times the 'Big Two' battles between Linfield and Belfast Celtic, the great seven trophy winning year of 1961/2 and the recent 2005/6 four trophy clean sweep."

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