It was with deep and sincere sadness that Longford Town FC heard of the sudden and unexpected death earlier today of Noel Whelan. Noel had a huge and life long passion for all things associated with his beloved Longford Town FC.
His interest, knowledge and commitment knew no bounds. To chat with Noel was to chat about De Town. He had an in depth knowledge of each player, his strengths and his weaknesses, the most effective formations against different oppositions and always new ideas for improvement.
But Noel was much more than a mere talker. His involvement was total. In 1979 he became Chairman and served into the 80s. In his capacity as Chairman, the Youths set up flourished because of Noel's great commitment and interest in nourishing younger players.
He also served as Secretary and Treasurer. In his earlier days when kit man, his attention to detail was legendary. The kit was always washed to perfection and the medical bag was the envy of many opposition teams. For away matches, he worked closely with Paddy Clabby in organising buses.
When the five-a-side was popular down behind Main Street, Noel's team was Inter. The pitch may be gone but the happy memories linger.
Noel's commitment never dimmed with the passing of many seasons. If anything, it increased. An avid and staunch supporter, he was a regular at games, home and away. Noel was also a great Lotto ticket seller because he believed so deeply in its cause.
Tuesday night was bitterly cold but Noel and Joan were present as usual in the City Calling Stadium to watch De Town. Despite the biting cold, Noel was in his usual upbeat form anticipating our first three points of the 2015 season.
Hearing of Noel's death just hours after that game sent shock waves of grief rippling through the many people who knew Noel.
“ A pure gentleman” is how how one former colleague, accurately summed up Noel Whelan.
Longford Town FC would like to extend its deepest sympathies to his great and dear friend Joan Merry, his family and wide circle of friends. May he rest in peace.