Flag tribute to fan legend Paddy Patterson
Now here's a rarity...a flag story that makes you proud and puts a smile on your face.
Fluttering above the pitch at Mullaghacall, home of Portstewart Football Club, during the NI Milk Cup this week is a rather special Northern Ireland flag bearing the message ‘RIP Paddy’.
It’s hoisted high among flags from France, Scotland, Chile and even Japan and is a tribute to Coleraine man Paddy Patterson who passed away in April this year at the age of 61.
Paddy lived for football and was a lifelong Coleraine and Northern Ireland supporter.
He grew up following Leeds United but became an adopted Arsenal fan when he moved to Harringay in north London to work in the London Underground almost three decades ago.
The flag is raised above the Lever Park home of Snowy Leslie who was inspired to remember big Paddy when he heard a typical football anecdote about the man at his funeral.
The story goes that even when Paddy was desperately sick with his cancer treatment, he had tried to gently coerce his consultant doctor, Dr Carp, an Arsenal supporter, to go to a match with him. “Sure come with me, “ Paddy had ajoled him. “I have two tickets in my wallet.”
Snowy said: “Something just clicked in my head when I heard that and I thought I’d get a wee flag and put it up for him.
“I’ve done this during the Milk Cup for maybe ten or fifteen years now, putting a few flags up when I know who is playing down here.
“To be honest I starting putting the flags up just for the kids. The boys playing love to see their country’s flag.
“I had the flag up for Paddy during the Euros too so this is just a one-off tribute to him this year.”
Paddy would often travel home to watch the Milk Cup, dropping down to the Warren to meet up with Snowy, Carson Campbell, Titch and other friends.
“We go back a long way from when we were in the Scouts and played a bit of football in the Works League,” said Snowy.
“I was going to get an Arsenal or Leeds flag but I decided on a Northern Ireland one because Paddy loved Northern Ireland, our wee country and he loved the Milk Cup.
“He used to come here with Carson to watch the games in the past couple of years, so it’s just good to remember him.”
Carson added: “With Paddy it was just football, football, football. It was everything to him. He was just a great character. A real football man.”