Belfast Telegraph

Glentoran offer condolences following passing of former player Derek Acorah

Derek Acorah played briefly for Glentoran
Derek Acorah played briefly for Glentoran
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

Glentoran FC have offered their condolences following the death of former player Derek Acorah.

Acorah, real name Derek Johnson, had a brief spell with the club during the 1968/69 season.

Before becoming famous for using his alleged psychic powers while hosting shows like Most Haunted, Acorah was on the books of Liverpool during Bill Shankley's time as manager.

From the Bootle area of the city, Acorah was released by his hometown club without playing a first team game. He then played for a host of clubs including Wrexham and Stockport before ending his career in Australia in his late twenties.

The TV mystic passed away on Friday at the age of 69 after falling into a coma while being treated for pneumonia.

Official Glentoran club records show that he made 4 appearances for the club, scoring one goal.

Glentoran Media Director Ian Clarke gave some background on Acorah's brief spell at the club.

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"He joined the club during a period of transition," he said.

"The great double championship winners managed by John Colrain had broken up with star players like Terry Conroy, Tommy Jackson, Arthur Stewart, Eric Ross and Billy Sinclair had left for full time football in England or Scotland.

"The iconic Colrain had also left the club, replaced as manager by Everton legend, Alex Young. During his spell with the club, Derek played four times, scoring one goal."

The Oval
The Oval

"Everyone at Glentoran sends deepest condolences to Derek's friends and family at this sad time".

Young, who brought Acorah to the Glens, was ironically nicknamed 'The Ghost' during his career for his silky skills.

"Alex was the first ghost I ever came face to face with," Acorah told the late Belfast Telegraph journalist Eddie McIlwaine in 2014.

"Alex was such an idol at Everton that I was delighted to join him in Belfast signing under my real name of Derek Johnson.

"In view of how my life changed after football it was an amazing coincidence how I met my first ghost of all."

Acorah had fond memories of his time at The Oval.

"I used to train every day with Alex and Alex Parker, who was then at Ballymena United. We were three of the few professional players in Northern Ireland at that time and I had a passion for the game," the mystic remembered.

"I played in the Glentoran team with good players like Tommy Morrow and I stayed even after Alex returned to England and Stockport County."

Acorah later claimed that he was told by ex-boss Shankley to leave his non-footballing talents "at home" after warning teammate Emlyn Hughes to be careful after picking up a new car.

The former England captain wrote the car off on his way to training the very next day, Acorah claimed.

"Shanks got me into the office and said, 'Son, where did you get all this from? You leave that at home, you just bring your boots here and play football.," he said.

He later claimed he was able to contact Shankley using his powers after the Liverpool legend passed away. 

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