Brighouse Town pay tribute after death of club stalwart Heffernan (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Brighouse Town pay tribute after death of club stalwart Jimmy Heffernan
The match dedicated to former Brighouse Town midfielder Jimmy Heffernan turned into a fitting tribute to his memory, according to club chairman Ray McLaughlin.
The ex-player and volunteer worker died recently and Brighouse had planned to honour him last Saturday before their home game against Bridlington Town was postponed.
McLaughlin said: “Jimmy’s funeral was on the Friday and we arranged to dedicate the game the day after to him. We had a lot of his old team-mates coming to the ground and had done a special match-day programme.
“When that was called off, we decided to make it the following game, which was Tuesday against Maltby.
“I’m glad it was just a few days later and although we would have had a bigger crowd on a Saturday, all of the 40-odd former team-mates of Jimmy’s that could still come did – and it ended with a win.”
Heffernan passed away aged just 54 after a long illness but his memory will never die at the Dual Seal Stadium – or in many other parts of the Bradford area, as McLaughlin explained.
He said: “I’ve known Jimmy since we were five years old at St Joseph’s school but even I was surprised at how many people’s lives he had touched. He was a local character and a great player.
“He was part of our side that had a lot of success in the early 90s. I had retired early because of injury, so I was managing the side, and Jimmy came to play for me and was part of the team that won the County Cup in 1992, the only time in our history.
“Before that he had played for VAW Low Moor and they were a cracking team in and around the leagues back then.
“He lived at Wyke, so he played a lot of his football in Bradford but was only just over a mile away from our ground. I pass his house on my way in every day.
“Jimmy was a really skilful midfielder and he didn’t make any enemies. When you go around kicking people or even being over-zealous in the tackle, you get a name for yourself. But he was far too good for that and because he played the game right, all the opposing players liked him as well.
“I gave the eulogy for him at the church and it was packed. There wasn’t enough room inside, the mourners were spilling out onto the street and you couldn’t get near the car park. That’s the kind of man he was.
“Later, at the gathering, we kind of knew that Saturday’s game was in so much doubt that it would probably be postponed, but all of his old team-mates said we should still meet at the ground, game or no game.
“We did and there were a few drinks and plenty of stories because Jimmy left a lot of good memories. I’m a close friend of his wife and family and they were moved by the amount of well-wishers.
“He was a good player, a good lad and a great mate. He’ll be missed by many.”