Final whistle blown for former referee and Northern Ireland football legend John Brown


Most folks who knew John Brown would also converse of soccer in the similar breath, he was so synonymous with the match.

Portadown's John Brown with his Long Service Medal presented by the Irish Football Association.
Portadown’s John Brown with his Prolonged Company Medal presented by the Irish Football Association.

From referee to supervisor to administrator, John was recognized the size and breadth of the place for his passion for NI football.

Samuel John Brown (anyone realized him as John) was born on November 3, 1939, the son of Thomas (Tom) and Eleanor (Ellie) Brown in Broomhedge near Moira. He had two brothers and a sister, Harold, Bertie and Sheila. Harold and Bertie have due to the fact died in 1995 and 2019 respectively. The spouse and children afterwards moved to The Inexperienced, in Lisburn in 1951.

John initial went to Broomhedge Principal College followed by Brownlee PS exactly where he had to walk his wee sister Sheila to college with him. He then went to Lisburn Technical College followed by an apprenticeship at Shorts Brothers. He also experienced a section time occupation in Issac Collins’ Chippy at the best of the Tonagh estate.

John Brown from Portadown with boxing champion Frank Bruno on the golf system.

John qualified as a draftsman and civil engineer. He worked in a range of positions during his daily life, which includes the Tilly Lamp Co, Glass Materials, Dungannon, Craigavon ​​Commission, Targeted visitors Management in DOE Roads Company like Belfast and then to Marlborough Residence in Craigavon ​​until his retirement following a stroke in 1994.

Most men and women will know John Brown for his enthusiasm for soccer. His daughter Janet revealed: “I have been informed that when he had his head in his school guides there was normally a soccer magazine in its place.”

John satisfied his spouse Gladys Robinson at a dance at the Savoy in Portadown. They married in St Mark’s Church, Portadown in Oct, 1964 and St Mark’s BB did the Guard of Honor as Gladys was a BB leader. Gladys, who was PA/secretary and prior to her loss of life had worked in SRC Portadown and Banbridge, and John had a extended and joyful marriage. They had two kids Janet and Gary and four grandchildren Alys (23) and Sara (18) Charlie (16) and Lucy (12). Gladys regrettably died incredibly abruptly from a coronary heart attack in February 1996 aged just 53 and 6 months prior to Janet was because of to get married.

Janet explained: “It was a shock for us all and Dad discovered it primarily tough getting rid of mum. If it was not for his excellent close friends and all his other football and sporting interests he would have been lost.”

John Brown having care of business at Portadown Golfing Club.

It was in the 1960s that John was spotted as a fantastic administrator. He experienced been handling the Lisnagarvey Strollers when these unusual abilities have been recognized and he was appointed to the Lisburn League – a article he remained in right until 1966. When he moved to Portadown he took up refereeing and was elected as Secretary of the Referees Affiliation.

He was a wonderful good friend of Jim Boyce (retired Irish Football Affiliation and FIFA) and he was fortunate enough to have traveled all about the globe with the Northern Ireland youth teams. He was in Spain with the Environmentally friendly and White Military (GAWA) when Billy Bingham was in demand all through that hardly ever to be neglected Globe Cup collection. He took aspect in all the NI Supporters Club (NISC) activities and dinners via the decades. He was secretary at Portadown FC and later Vice President of Dungannon Swifts.

John joined the Mid Ulster Soccer League (MUFA) in 1977 using on the purpose of Secretary. He was elected Secretary of the MUFA in 1978 till 1990 when he grew to become Treasurer and kept a limited rein on the purse strings until 1999. The yr 1978 was a really significant yr for John as a football legislator. The MUFA returned John as one particular of their associates to the Irish Soccer Association (IFA) John fulfilled many roles on a variety of committees on the IFA (much too quite a few to mention but he was so very pleased and honored to serve on the IFA for 35 decades (1978- 2013).

John continued to sit on the MUFA until eventually he retired in 2015. In his latter a long time he represented Dungannon Swifts in the Affiliation. On John’s retirement from the IFA he was designed a lifetime member of the Association as he was for his assistance following 38 several years to the MUFA.

John Brown with his lengthy provider medal introduced by the IFA.

John had his initially hip procedure at the age of 49 – ought to have been all the refereeing! It lasted 20 years. He had that 1 changed and his other hip replaced as effectively. In his later decades his mobility little by little deteriorated but he took up other sports activities. He was a member of The Blackers Society and NISC at Portadown Golfing Club. He experimented with indoor bowls for a while and bridge. It was stated he was completely horrible at Bridge but he didn’t care as he was there for the craic and to socialise. Afterwards he frequently headed to Edenvilla Park with his good mate Eddie Patterson for a ‘walk’ while it tended to be much more a chat with passersby in spite of Eddie’s best initiatives. When he could no for a longer period enjoy golfing he was usually known as by the Captain each and every yr to do starter for many competitions at Portadown Golfing Club. He would sit out in his wee hut and enjoy the banter from all the guys prior to teeing off and trying to keep them all in test.

Janet remembers that no issue wherever in the planet they went on household holidays, another person would know her father, irrespective of whether it be Portugal, Majorca, Cyprus or Ibiza.

John Brown was a true character with a actually excellent sense of humor. He cherished getting out and about socializing at the golf club or soccer dinners or competitions. He had a type heart and was constantly inclined to assist out. He was normally early for factors but also generally in a rush to get to the upcoming thing!

John was especially near with his granddaughter Alys who routinely visited him with her mum. Alys has a exceptional autoimmune condition identified as Dancing Eye Syndrome and is autistic and she would have termed with her mum to support her grandfather with factors. John would have picked up the grandchildren from college when they were youthful. Alys employed to appreciate it when he would consider her out to the golf club to fulfill up with ‘the boys’ – all his mates in excess of 70 yrs aged! She liked getting out there to chat with them and was addressed to a packet of crisps and a coke.

John was perfectly acknowledged in the soccer circuit and satisfied several celebrity or famed footballers by means of the years but he would never ever boast about it and he would have just handled them like any other regular man or woman.

Throughout the past four months of his lifestyle John lived in Hockley Nursing Property and was effectively-appreciated by all the workers notably for the reason that of his excellent wit!

John Brown died on November 19th peacefully in the Royal Victoria Medical center. Late of Clanbrassil Generate in Portadown, his funeral was a very bespoke and personal provider. The volume of people who attended and standing exterior was testament to the high regard in which he was held by spouse and children, pals and colleagues.

Husband of the late Gladys, John is deeply mourned by his daughter Janet, son-in-law Peter, granddaughters Alys (23) and Sara (18), son Gary, Abigail and grandchildren Charlie (16) and Lucy (12) and his To put in sister sheila.

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