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Stars of past and present mourn the loss of legendary Portadown kitman Geordie Richardson

Obituary: George Richardson 1944-2017

By Adam McKendry

Tributes have poured in for former Portadown kitman George Richardson, who passed away on Tuesday night aged 73 after a short battle with illness.

An integral part of the club for 30 years, 'Geordie' was a dedicated Ports man both on and off the field.

A boyhood fan of the club, he was well-known and highly respected within the club and further afield for the role he played at Shamrock Park. His dedication to the role was marked a few seasons ago with the erection of a plaque in the main dressing room that reads: "Geordie's Boot Room".

Geordie was one of Portadown's greatest characters, and on social media there was a wave of condolences offered from those who knew him.

Cliftonville's former Ports defender Garry Breen commented: "The term legend gets put about a lot but this gentlemen was definitely one in my six years at Portadown; he was the most unsung hero ever. Looked after me and everyone at the club".

Ryan McCluskey, who now plays Gaelic football for Fermanagh but played midfield for Portadown, added: "Very sad news, a gentleman about the changing room and a great member of the back room staff."

Former striker, now Warrenpoint Town manager, Matthew Tipton also passed on his condolences, saying: "Such a good man. Thoughts and prayers with the whole Richardson family."

Dergview boss Richard Clarke said: "Terribly sad news. Working at Portadown was a real labour of love for Geordie. Gentleman and good friend over many years at the club. God Bless."

And another former midfielder, Dean Fitzgerald, posted: "In every successful club there must be a good dressing room, Geordie made ours a great one. Quick witted and loved the banter. RIP #clublegend". Geordie's funeral will take place tomorrow, with a service at the family home at 11am, the funeral at Thomas Street Methodist Church at 12 noon and a committal at Kernan Cemetery.

Mourners can also pay their respects to Geordie in the Portadown boardroom at Shamrock Park afterwards.

- The Toals County Antrim Shield final between Ballymena United and Crusaders on Tuesday, January 23 will be played at Ballymena Showgrounds.

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