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Warm tributes after death of yer man Sammy Mackie at 82

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Popular: Sammy Mackie was best known for the football song ‘I’m Yer Man’

Popular: Sammy Mackie was best known for the football song ‘I’m Yer Man’

Entertainer: Sammy Mackie on his 80th birthday two years ago

Entertainer: Sammy Mackie on his 80th birthday two years ago

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Popular: Sammy Mackie was best known for the football song ‘I’m Yer Man’

Eamonn Holmes and Jackie Fullerton have led tributes to eccentric entertainer, Sammy Mackie, who passed away in hospital at the age of 82 on Tuesday.

The lovable Whiteabbey-born comedian was best known for his legendary football anthem ‘I’m yer man’, which became famous during Northern Ireland’s run in the 1982 World Cup.

That same year, Sammy was a runner-up in the Northern Ireland Entertainer of the Year competition.

He also received a special award for The Essence of Northern Ireland, and was crowned the Co Tyrone Entertainer of the Year in 1982 and 1983.

Belfast-born broadcaster Holmes said: “He had a great following and he was just a gentleman. Funny, but gentle in nature too. He wasn’t big and boisterous, he was a nice man and a pleasure to work with.

"He’s a Northern Ireland legend and will be sadly missed.

“We went and shot the video of him walking down the street and he was very funny.

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"He captured the mood of the time and he also did this spectacular stunt at Ulster TV when I was presenting Good Evening Ulster.

"He had this song Sambo (a parody on Rambo) so we replaced the studio door with polystyrene blocks.

"Basically, he kicked the blocks open as if he were Sylvester Stallone and he came in like Rambo with a replica rifle and the headband and everything. He was a great laugh.”

Popular former football broadcaster Fullerton said the news of Sammy’s passing was “very sad, because he was a top class comic”.

He added that he “will always remember him” as “he had a caustic wit, but he was much loved, by all who knew him”.

“He was a great supporter of the national team and I’ve a nice little story to show his humour,” continued Mr Fullerton.

”We went to Finland with Northern Ireland and Sammy was there amongst the supporters in Helsinki. We were staying at a hotel and there was a great nightclub down below. Obviously all of us found this and we went down on the first night.

"There was a great group singing and amongst our fans was a well-known local singer, Trevor Kelly.

"The boys got word up to the big singer that Trevor was a bit of a chanter. Finland was a very expensive country, so Trevor went up and sang a couple of songs.

"He did very well and he came back down again, and they gave him and the boys a free drink.

“Sammy says: ‘Trevor, I was just thinking, with the price of drink in here — that’s probably the best fee you’ve ever received for singing two songs.’”

Gary McAllister, chairman of the Amalgamation of Official Northern Ireland Supporters' Clubs, added: “Our members will be saddened to hear of Sammy Mackie’s passing.

"Sammy will be remembered with great fondness by fans for his iconic song, which we still love and play to this day.”

Known for his quick wit and multiple novelty songs, Sammy can also now be remembered by streaming his most famous tune on the global music app, Spotify.

Released as a track on the 2017 George Best Tribute Album, ‘I’m yer man’ has been grouped alongside songs dedicated to the east Belfast football legend, and has been played over 3,000 times on the online service.

Sammy spent a short stint in the Army specialising in entertaining the troops. In January 1966, he got married, had three children and moved to Queens Park in Glengormley, where he lived until his death on February 22 — one month after his 82nd birthday.

He started an industrial cleaning business, but continued with his love of the spotlight, doing pub and club circuits throughout Ulster, England and Scotland throughout his life.


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