Willie Irvine remembers 'father figure' Jimmy
Fellow County Antrim boy and another prolific forward for Burnley, Willie Irvine, paid tribute to '˜father figure' Jimmy McIlroy who offered sage advice on and off the pitch.
Willie said: “I arrived in Burnley as a wide-eyed 16-year-old from County Antrim. There was a man called Jimmy McIlroy playing for Burnley at that time, and I had no idea then how much he would help me in my own career.
“I was a wee Irish boy who he looked after like a father figure. I actually babysat for him in Burnley a number of time and he would always give me good advice, along with a ckeeky sense of humour.
“When I first arrived at Turf Moor I would clean the kit of the first teamers. Jimmy would always ask how I had played in the youth teams and reserves. I remember Jimmy and Jimmy Adamson once gave me advice on how to shake off a marker.
“In fact, I sincerely believe my first international call-up to the senior Northern Ireland team was down to Jimmy putting in a good word for me.
“Legend is a word that’s over-used today but to me Jimmy was a true world legend.”