Greatest ever Claret Jimmy McIlroy dies

Jimmy McIlroy at his beloved Turf Moor
Jimmy McIlroy at his beloved Turf Moor
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Burnley Football Club's greatest ever player, Jimmy McIlroy, has died.

The Northern Irishman who made Burnley his home will forever be remembered as a true Clarets legend, the effervescent inside forward who inspired his teammates to the pinnacle of English football when the Turf Moor outfit became league champions in 1959-60.

A humble, old school gentleman, Jimmy (86) settled in his beloved adopted town after a glittering career and even went on to become a writer for the Burnley Express.

Born in the village of Lambeg, County Antrim, Jimmy arrived at Turf Moor in 1950 from Northern Irish club Glentoran and what would become a lifelong love affair with the town and its people.

Ask any Clarets fan of a certain vintage, their favourite ever player and 'Jimmy Mac' will inevitably be the answer.

Appointed an MBE in 2011 for services to football and to charity, Jimmy, not surprisingly, chose to receive the honour at Turf Moor rather than at Buckingham Palace. It was a setting in which this prince of the game had for many years made the people happy.

A Burnley Football Club spokesman said: "The club is deeply saddened to learn of the death of our greatest ever player. A giant of a man. The thoughts of everyone connected with the club are with his family and friends at this sad time. Rest in peace, Jimmy."