A sadly missed father and a ‘true and dedicated sportsman’

The late James Mitchell. (0607BM01)
The late James Mitchell. (0607BM01)

It is with great sadness we write this a tribute to our late father James (Jim) Mitchell. We want to acknowledge his great love for football and mostly his football career.

He started his career with Londonderry Boys’ Club during which he received his Irish call-up. He played for the Irish Youths in 1950 but also made the final trials in 1949. He was picked for the team and played three games in the Youth Home Internationals. In the first match they beat Wales in the Brandywell which he said was “a great moment”. After beating the Welsh the team travelled to Easter Road, the home of Hibernians and were defeated by the Scottish. In the final game they met the English at Cliftonville’s Solitude and defeated them 2-1 to share the title with England.

With the home internationals over the then 18-year-old Jim signed a professional contract with Linfield Swifts. Whilst there he won a Steel & Sons cup medal. Playing for The Blues for a year he returned home to the North West and joined Ulsterville; here he was spotted by a scout and was soon on his way again, this time to Ards.

Like Linfield he played one season with Ards he came back home and had a spell at Derry City, before moving to Coleraine. Jim described his four years at Coleraine as “the best time of his whole career”.

One of the highlights was winning the North West Senior Cup; he played for the Reserves and after defeating their senior side they beat Derry in the Final.

Many a Saturday morning and week nights later in his life was spent coaching other young players, helping them to reach their full potential just as he had - a true and dedicated sportsman who will be sorely missed by his loving family and wider circle.