A Portadown teacher who coached some of the town’s finest footballers has died after an illness.
Mr Sidney Proctor had been sports master at the old Portadown Technical College for some 40 years during which time the school won every major soccer honour in the country. He was 89.
Year after year the school’s soccer teams were feted in the Town Hall after bringing silverware to the town.
The team included many players who went on to play at a higher level - players like Billy Wilson, who starred in Linfield’s seven-trophy-winning team after a spell at Burnley where he won a B international cap and Howard Best who held the record for the number of schoolboy and youth international caps and played for Glentoran and Bournemouth.
Denis Guy, another youth international, starred for Linfield and Glenavon, Davy Jackson for Coleraine, Brian McConville played at Glenavon, John Hyndes for Portadown, Mervyn Haire, Linfield, and Tandragee brothers Winston and Billy McConville were both schoolboy internationals.
Not to mention Noel Milsopp and Jack McCann, both youth internationals, brothers Richard Matchett and Robert Matchett, schoolboy and youth honours as well as playing for Portadown, Noel Gillis and Billy Pierson, Portadown, Alan Flavelle and Billy Metcalfe, Glenavon, and many more.
The walls of the old Technical School on the Armagh Road were adorned with photographs of the cup-winning teams and Mr Proctor took great pride in following the prowess of students who played for the school.
Mr Proctor was also heavily involved in coaching the town’s athletic teams which cleaned up at sports events all over the country and old photographs show meticulously turned out teams who brought pride to the school wherever they went,
Everyone got a chance to play for the school teams. Success was important to him but ensuring that every student got a chance to enjoy the sports was his priority.
The pupils remember him with fondness. Brian McConville, who starred for the soccer and athletic teams, said, “Sidney gave us happy memories and we remember him with pride. He coached great teams and was always careful in ensuring that everyone got a chance to play.
“I recall when our senior team brought the Schools Cup out of Belfast for the first time in 30 years. Those were memorable days.”
Mr Proctor was a popular and respected member of the teaching staff. He was a native of Loughgall, where he played for the local soccer team, and the funeral was to the old Loughgall burial ground with former colleagues among the mourners.
The funeral took place from St Columba’s Parish Church and the services were conducted by Canon William Adair.
Mr Proctor was predeceased by his wife Lila and is survived by his son Glenn, daughter-in-law Liz, grandson Isaac and brothers Sam and John.