MEMBERS of the North-West’s older generation of footballers will regret the news of the death of Oliver Norris who passed away in Melbourne, Australia, last weekend. He was 82.
Oliver, who left Derry as a 16-year-old to join Middlesbrough following the recommendation of local scout, Eddie Davis, spent eight seasons at the club during the post war years.
And while he failed to make a breakthrough into what was a particularly strong first team, his awards were associated with the Reserve side.
He eventually agreed to sign for Bournemouth for the princely sum of £5,000 and it was here where he would enjoy his career highlights.
FA Cup Run Was
Playing in the FA Cup Oliver was part of the Bournemouth team. Having saw off the challenges of Burton, Swindon and Accrington Stanley, a glamour tie with the fashionable Wolverhampton Wanderers awaited and it was Oliver who was hailed the hero when netting the winning strike.
Then Bournemouth faced the Danny Blanchflower inspired Spurs and as the Derry man constantly jumped up and down in front of Blanchflower when the N. Ireland international attempted to take throw-ins, the rules of the game were subsequently changed.
“It wasn’t illegal at the time. I just jumped up and down and attempted to annoy him at every throw-in and it worked,” said Oliver at the time.
The cup run ended with a 2-1 defeat by the mighty Manchester United.
Following his career Oliver and his family emigrated to Australia where he suffered the tragic loss of his son, John.
However, he returned to Derry as often as he could to see his family cirlce and, indeed, was a regular visitor to the “Journal” office to visit former editor, Frank Curran, another close friend.
Burial This Morning
Mr. Norris will be buried this morning (Friday) following Requiem Mass in Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Melbourne.
A Memorial Mass will take place in St. Eugene’s Cathedral next Monday, 20th June at 7.30 p.m.
He is survived by his wife, Anne; son, Oliver Jnr; daughters, Catherine and Judy Anne, and sisters, Eilish, Angela, Geraldine, Evelyn and Sheila.
He was pre-deceased by his son, John, brother Pius and sister, Mary.
The sincere sympath of the Derry and North-West sports fraternity is extended to Oliver’s loving wife, Anne and the extended Norris family circle.
May he rest in peace.