Derry City supporters will get the chance to take a nostalgic trip back down memory lane this Saturday as a host of club legends say a poignant farewell to Brandywell Stadium when they take on a Glentoran Select. (Kick-off 1.30 p.m.)
Organised by record setting Derry City striker, Liam Coyle, the match against the East Belfast club takes on added significance as it could well be the final game to be played on the grass pitch at the Lone Moor Road venue, should work on the new artificial surface go ahead as planned.
Fitting then it will feature many of the best players to grace the pitch since the club’s formation in 1928.
While Coyle is unable to play due to a predictable knee injury, the Derry City Legends team will include players who have won League, FAI Cup, League Cup medals and represented the ‘Candy Stripes’ in Europe.
Ex- Man City forward, Jobby Crossan, who represented Derry in the late 1950’s, will feature in the game alongside, ex-N. Ireland internationals, Tony O’Doherty and Felix Healy as well as current Institute boss and former City skipper, Kevin Deery among other notable former ‘Candy Stripes’.
Noel McBride Memorial Trophy
It’s like a farewell to Brandywell for everybody that played for the club down the years. The Brandywell won’t be the same after it’s redeveloped with the pitch being the main difference. Everyone that is coming down has either won leagues, cups or played in Europe for the club.Liam Coyle
And with the inaugural ‘Noel McBride Memorial Trophy’ up for grabs for the winner, it’s expected to be an entertaining and competitive affair.
“For the first time this year we’re playing for the Noel McBride Memorial Trophy,” added Coyle. “Noel used to come and do a lot of charity stuff with us when we started the legends team. So it’s in honour of Noel who was a big part in getting us up and running.”
Glentoran will also bring a star studded line-up with Jim Cleary, Barney Bowers, Johnny Jameson, Billy Caskey, Paul Leeman and Rory Hamill all confirmed to attend.
While ex-Glentoran and Derry striker, Coyle won’t be involved on the pitch, both he and his late father, Faye, will be represented by his 14 year-old son, Jack who currently plays for Foyle Harps U15s.
And Coyle expects it to be an emotional day for the players involved and also Derry City supporters who have followed the club throughout the years with the proceeds going towards the Pink Ladies Breast Cancer Support Group.
“It may well be the last time the Brandywell pitch as we know it, is used for a match,” said Coyle. “We’re bringing a lot of ex players from down the years this time who have played for Derry in some capacity. Right back to the 1950s with Jobby Crossan playing.
“Tony Doc is playing too and then you have the likes of Felix Healy, Jack Keay, Stuart Gauld, Paul Hegarty, Raymond McGuinness from the 1980s. And from the 1990s we’ll have James Keddy, Paul Curran, Gary Beckett and Sean Hargan. Ciaran Martyn, Paddy McLaughlin and Kevin Deery are all making an appearance too.
“So it’s like a farewell to Brandywell for everybody that played for the club down the years. The Brandywell won’t be the same after it’s redeveloped with the pitch being the main difference. Everyone that is coming down has either won leagues, cups or played in Europe for the club.
“We want people to come along and support the team and it might bring back a few good memories for some people.
“We started out the legends team seven or eight years ago and the Glntoran team were the first to come down. We’re doing it this year for the Pink Ladies which is a great charity. Glentoran are bringing down players who have won Irish league medals and cup medals - proper Irish League legends.
“It’s played in a good spirit but it’s competitive as well. It’s boys who have played senior football for 20 years so they won’t want to be beat.”
Admission if free, however, any donations made at the gate will be greatly appreciated.