Ex-Cliftonville player and manager Tommy Breslin died suddenly whilst on holidays this week, it was announced last night by his former club.
A social media post read “Cliftonville Football Club are devastated to this evening learn of the sudden and untimely death of Tommy Breslin.
Cliftonville confirmed that “The Club will naturally pay full tribute to Tommy very soon, but at this moment in time our thoughts are very much with the Breslin family circle and his many friends, to whom we extend our most heartfelt sympathies. Rest in peace, Tommy.”
The much loved Cliftonville man’s sudden death has plunged the Irish League into mourning sparking an outporing of condolences from former players, managers and fans. One thing that stood out more than anything else is that Tommy not only was a very accomplished player and manager but he also a pure gentleman.
Cliftonville’s current coach, Declan O’Hara was an integral part of the squad that Tommy assisted Eddie Patterson with before taking the post over himself from 2011- 2015.
O’Hara told the media “He’s one of the nicest guys you could ever meet, he was a happy man, always smiling. Win, lose or draw, he was still happy. You would always get a joke out of him.
“He will be missed. He’s a legend as a person, a legend of the club.
“He’s the most successful Cliftonville manage in history. That’s massive. All of his players loved him, even if they weren’t playing on a Saturday. You could always go and speak to him any time. As a man, as a person and as a manager, he’s a legend. That’s all I can say about him.
“He was a super player as well. I used to go and watch him as a kid. He got on the ball, played one-twos and scored goals. He was a wee small guy in the middle of the park. He knew what he was talking about. When he talked, you listened.
“I’ve known him a long time and I’ve never had a bad word to say about him. Nobody has ever said a bad word about him. You could ask anybody and they would say exactly the same thing.
“The whole league is in shock. It’s a sad, sad time for local football. We’ve lost a legend of the game.
“I’m heartbroken, I know a lot of other ex-players are heartbroken and obviously his family is devastated.”
Cliftonville’s manager Paddy McLaughlin described him as a “true Cliftonville and Irish League legend”.
Tommy had an illustrious career with Cliftonville, he played as a midfielder and as a manager, he enjoyed unparalleled success at Solitude with consecutive league title wins in 2013 and 2014 . In four-and-a-half years he won the Gibson Cup, three consecutive League Cup triumphs and two County Antrim Shield victories making him the north Belfast club’s most successful boss in its 140-year history.
He will be sadly missed. fondly remembered and forever respected by everyone in the Irish League. Rest In Peace Tommy