Linfield hero Patterson in appeal over stolen Irish Cup medal
One of Linfield''s longest-serving footballers from the Sixties and Seventies has cried foul after thieves stole his Irish Cup winner's medal he won 44 years ago.
Jackie Patterson has made an emotional appeal to the burglars to return his treasured medal, the only one he won in five Cup Final appearances for the Windsor Park club.
The 72-year-old - who played left back 384 times in 10 years with the Blues - collected the medal after a 2-1 win against Ballymena United at Solitude in 1970 - the last time Linfield played at Cliftonville's ground for 28 years because of the Troubles.
"That victory completed my set of winners' medals with the Blues," said Jackie. "So you can understand that it means the world to me. I just hope whoever has it will give it back to me.
"And if anyone is offered the medal, it is easily recognisable because my name is on it."
One of Jackie's team-mates in the 1970 final was former Manchester United star and Munich survivor Dennis Viollet, who played for Linfield for a short time.
The medal was stolen after burglars targeted Jackie's home and seven other families in the Saintfield Road area of Belfast on the same night.
The thieves also took computers and jewellery from the Patterson home, and it wasn't until some time later that Jackie realised the medal was gone too
Jackie said: "My wife wore it on a gold chain around her neck and kept it in her jewellery drawer. I won over 20 medals with Linfield but the Cup Winner's medal was special because I had been on the losing side so often.
"The thieves could have stolen any of the Cup loser's medals but it was the winner's one they took."
Jackie's golfing friend Neil Taylor said: "I've never seen him so gutted. This was the medal he treasured the most."
Jackie was a member of the Linfield team that reached the quarter finals of the European Cup in 1966/67, and he also played in the team that beat Manchester City 2-1 at Windsor Park in the European Cup Winners' Cup in September 1970, going out on the away goals rule after losing 1-0 at Maine Road.