Tributes paid to Lowestoft football stalwart Brian Gallagher
- Credit: Archant
Tributes have been paid to a Lowestoft man who helped launch the career of many aspiring footballers in the town.
Brian Gallagher, the founder of Waveney Youth Football Club, died at his home in Lowestoft on October 28.
A former teaching assistant at Harris Middle School, Mr Gallagher set up Waveney Youth FC in 1978 and over the following 30 years, he coached and managed some of the most successful teams in the history of the Norfolk and Suffolk Youth League.
Among the young players to benefit from his knowledge and advice were more than 100 who went on to represent Lowestoft Town FC at first team level, as well as Premier League footballers Daryl Sutch (Norwich City), Edwin Murray (Swindon Town) and Lee Durrant (Ipswich Town).
Former City favourite Sutch's Waveney team at U15 level brought the Suffolk Minor Cup back to Lowestoft for the first ever time in 1986-87, having previously been won by Lowestoft Town FC. Mr Gallagher also scouted for Norwich City and coached at their school of excellence.
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The Waveney teams that Mr Gallagher oversaw won more than 50 league and cup titles and more than 100 five-a-side and one-day tournaments, and last year a celebration evening was held to mark his achievements in local football.
Among the original Waveney Youth squad members in 1978-79 were Lowestoft chairman Gary Keyzor and current joint manager Ady Gallagher, along with Brian's brother, David Gallagher. A Waveney FC spokesman said: 'So many footballers in the Lowestoft area have him to thank for starting their football careers.'
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To ensure Mr Gallagher's memory lives on, Lowestoft-based Sentinel Leisure Trust has established the Brian Gallagher Soccer School Fund, which can offer support any local club or organisation with the aim of progressing youth football.
Mr Gallagher leaves his mother Ruby, brothers Raymond and David, sister Jayne and two children. A celebration of Mr Gallagher's life will be held at Gorleston Crematorium at 2pm on Wednesday, followed by a reception at Lowestoft Town FC.
David Gallagher said: 'Thank you for all who have posted messages, condolences, shared memories, sent cards, made that difficult telephone call or visited in person. The immediate family are overwhelmed by the support, love and respect.'