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Morrison leads the tributes to legendary Glentoran man Billy Spence

Billy Spence

Glentoran legend Raymond Morrison has led the tributes to the club's former chief scout Billy Spence, who passed away on Tuesday night aged 78.

Billy, who had battled cancer, managed the Glentoran Colts team but is most fondly remembered and respected for the many great players he brought to The Oval over four decades of outstanding service.

Morrison, who made 432 appearances for the Glens from 1982 to 1994, was just one of the great players guided by Billy.

The long list of talent he welcomed into the Glentoran family also included John Devine, Tommy Leeman, Gary Hillis, Terry Moore, Paul Millar, Philip Major, David Keery, Andy Mathieson, Gordon Hillis, Justin McBride, Gary Smyth and David West.

Morrison, who won two titles and six Irish Cups with the Glens, said: "My late father Rab worked at the shipyard with Billy and Jim 'Bimbo' Weatherup and Billy spotted me playing for the joiners' team in the summer league. He was great at looking after players, particularly when things weren't going smoothly.

"In this era, there's no-one like him and you can only imagine the money he saved the club. He took great pride in the players he worked with and we all had huge respect for him."

The service will be at James Brown & Sons funeral parlour on the Newtownards Road tomorrow at 3.30pm. Afterwards to Roselawn Crematorium and a reception at Belmont Bowling Club with everyone welcome.

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