Glentoran greats line out for funeral of Ron Manley
Roselawn Cemetery became The Oval football ground for 90 minutes yesterday as Glentoran players and managers, past and present, joined fans and officials at the funeral of club playing legend and lifelong supporter Ron Manley, who died suddenly last week aged 56.
Hundreds of mourners listened inside and outside the chapel of rest as ex-team-mate and Northern Ireland 1982 World Cup squad member Johnny Jameson led the tributes to one of the club's best-loved players from Glentoran's multi-trophy winning 1980s team.
Team-mates from that era in attendance included Glens heroes Jim Cleary, Raymond Morrison, Barney Bowers, Rab McCreery, Gary Blackledge and Billy Caskey. Current Glens manager Ronnie McFall, who gave Ron his debut as a 17-year-old, was joined by club director of football Roy Coyle, former boss Paul Millar and ex-player and coach Billy Sinclair.
Among former rivals paying their respects were ex-Linfield and Northern Ireland internationals George Dunlop and Lee Doherty. They heard Jameson insist that prolific goalscorer Ron had been a good enough player to make the grade in England and for his country.
But while he was offered cross-channel trials after scoring a hat-trick for Northern Ireland U18s against the Republic, he chose to remain with his beloved Glens, although he later had spells in Australia and New Zealand, ending his Irish League career with Cliftonville.