Sunday 23 October 2016

ray's loyalty and sense of fun will be sorely missed

I was both shocked and sad to hear about my great friend Ray Treacy's untimely passing. He was one of life's great enthusiasts and this is a big blow to myself and all his family and friends.

I met him first at Elland Road back in 1965 when a young Dub came up to me and introduced himself after Leeds had played West Brom.

He was never shy about putting himself forward, Ray and that day began a friendship which was to last all the way through our club and international careers and beyond.

There were two Ray Treacys. There was Rayo, game as anything, a real grafter who knew he wasn't gifted with huge football talent but good enough that when he married it with hard work he carved a great career for himself.

For a relatively small man, he could really head the ball and his willingness to throw himself in the way of danger made him a popular figure among West Brom supporters and Ireland fans when he made the step up to represent his country.

This was a larger than life character, the life and soul of any party and a great man to knock a laugh out of even the most dreary situations.

But there was also Ray, a private man who was loyal, shrewd and smart and a very good friend to have.

He was an incredible practical joker and we traded mischief back and forth. But he could always laugh at himself and that's a great strength in anybody.

He came back to Dublin with me to have a go at a full-time professional set-up at Shamrock Rovers and he brought with him a great fund of football knowledge which he used himself to manage the Hoops to a League title.

That was a great day for him and evidence that he had a deep knowledge of the game to go with a fantastic ability to get on with people.

It was this part of his personality which he used so well to develop his travel agency and I know he had many, many loyal customers who came back time and time again to fly with him for away trips following Ireland.

I have to say, this news has come as a big shock to me and all my condolences and best wishes go to his wife Jenny, daughters Lisa and Karen and sons John and Gary.

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