The late Eunan '˜Busty' Blake - a Derry City legend

I was greatly saddened at the death of a former playing colleague, latterly boss, but most of all a great friend on Wednesday last.

Thursday, 11th May 2017, 6:05 pm
Updated Friday, 12th May 2017, 1:05 pm
Derry City players Jimbo Crossan, Matt Doherty and the late, Eunan Blake relax before the 1964 Irish Cup Final victory over Glentoran at Windsor Park.

When Eunan Blake passed on after a long and debilitating illness it was yet another link with the great Derry City championship team of the sixties broken

‘Busty’, as he was known to all and sundry, was a shoo-in at right back on any team of all-time City greats.

The professional’s professional, he could have played at any level and, when he declined to join Everton in the early stages of his career it was simply because the rewards in those days were not great enough to tempt him away from a good job at Shell Oil and a close knit family at home in Letterkenny. The Liverpool club’s loss was Sligo Rovers’ - his first senior club - and Derry City’s gain!

I first met him when I was a student and on my way to Dublin on the train. ‘Busty’ was travelling down to play in a Dublin versus The Provinces annual fixture.

We got into a conversation and have been friends ever since. Though he will be remembered as a hugely important member of the first ever Derry league win in 1965, he didn’t have the same luck in cup competitions, missing not one but two finals through injury.

In our cup win of 1964 he was out with a long term injury and, after Derry’s demise in 1972, he was also injured for the Finn Harps 1974 final against St Pat’s.

As manager of Harps he later signed me from Dundalk. ‘Busty’ will be hugely missed by all who knew and loved him.

May he rest in peace.