Tuesday 25 October 2016

Farewell Trasser - we've lost a great philosopher, sage and story-teller

HE didn't mince his words, Ray Treacy and he had plenty of them. With the news of his passing is the certainty that we've lost a great story-teller, sage, football philosopher and above all, a man of laughter.

Ray had his statistics. Good ones which stand in comparison with most of the men who left Ireland for a career in professional in England.

Over 300 senior games and 94 goals across the water for West Brom, Charlton, Swindon, Preston.

He managed Home Farm, Drogheda United and Shamrock Rovers during the RDS days, always with a hard-headed realism which was an alien concept in the League of Ireland.

So much so that Ray decided to pursue his travel agency full-time and for that, every football journalist who ever covered Ireland at away games had cause to be thankful.

Often when a one-time hero crosses over and becomes someone every day, the reality is sometimes at odds with the expectation.

But Ray was larger than life up close and personal just as he was on the pitch. He could be brash. He could cut the legs from under you with a word.

I remember, particularly falling out with him over Mick McCarthy and meeting him in Hampden Park for Brian Kerr's first game as Ireland boss against Scotland, the first time since his good mate had been sacked.

He was furious and gave me both barrels without time to offer a defence. Five minutes later he grinned and said: "That's out of my system now, I'm grand."

Bad feeling never really lingered. Soldiering alongside his great friend Tom Kavanagh, he steered the Irish press corps through Saipan and to all corners of the globe always ready for practical jokes and very often the target for them.

In fact it was often said that if the Ireland team had the same sense of unity which Trasser and Tom helped create among the hacks, they would have won the World Cup easy.

They were great men, full of fun and mischief but serious too when the need arose. They will both be missed.

Ray is survived by his wife Jenny, daughters Lisa and Karen and sons John and Gary and family.

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