Special praise for former Ports manager

Former Portadown Football Club manager Bertie Neill.
Former Portadown Football Club manager Bertie Neill.

Portadown Football Club’s pre-season enthusiasm has been tempered by news of the death of former manager Bertie Neill.

Bertie replaced Gibby MacKenzie at Shamrock Park in 1977 and highlights from his period with the Ports include Gold Cup glory and an Irish Cup final appearance.

“Bertie was respected across the game by fellow managers, club officials, players and supporters,” said current Portadown manager Ronnie McFall. “He worked with some cracking players and put together a number of talented teams.

“Condolences go to the Neill family from everyone at Portadown FC.”

Bertie’s playing career featured time on the books at Bangor and Glentoran before moving into management.

He enjoyed periods with Tottenham Hotspur and Oldham Athletic, the latter as assistant to Northern Ireland legend Jimmy McIlroy. He was also a first-team coach at Stoke City.

Neill’s domestic career included steering Dundela to nine cup finals within two years, plus successful spells at Bangor either side of the Portadown job.

Bertie passed away peacefully at his home in Lisburn.

He is survived by wife Doreen and children Lorraine, Karren and Stephen.