Football in Northern Ireland has lost one of its greatest personalities; Dr Malcolm Brodie, MBE. He was 86. As tributes pour in from around the football world everyone connected with the game in this country is saddened by Malcolm’s passing.
At Glentoran, Malcolm is probably remembered best for his wonderful reports from America during the summer of 1967 and also his articles from the far flung corners of Europe. Sitting in your house in East Belfast you felt you’d actually been at the game. In journalistic terms Malcolm Brodie, former Sports Editor of the Belfast Telegraph, was a colossus.
He spoke fondly of that sixties summer when Glentoran represented the City of Detroit as ‘The Cougars’ and of the terrific bond within the squad and the official party. That friendship continued over the next 45 years and every Christmas the players would receive a Christmas card from Malcolm Brodie. The message simply stated, 'From one Cougar to another'.
He regarded himself as part of that great team, a team he later describe as ‘The finest Irish League team ever’. “Belfast Celtic may have beaten Scotland in their 1949 tour of the US, but as far as I’m concerned this is the most impressive foreign display by any Northern Ireland side apart, of course, from that never to be forgotten 1958 World Cup series. The Glens are a credit to everyone in the face of stern opposition.”
6 years ago when the Glentoran Supporters Committee (1923) were organising a dinner to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Detroit Cougars we contacted Malcolm Brodie to see if he’d be able to come along. “Absolutely! I wouldn’t miss that for anything.” Although around 80 years old at the time, Malcolm was like a child waiting for Christmas. “Who is coming? Is there anything I can do for you?” On the evening of the function Malcolm gave an emotional speech. All 15 surviving players had turned up, travelling from as far afield as Sydney, Australia and Vancouver, Canada. He was so pleased to have everyone back together again but also realistic that this may be the last time it might happen. He closed with the words from that war time song sung by Vera Lynn; “We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when...”
Everyone connected with Glentoran Football Club extends their deepest sympathies to Malcolm’s wife, Margaret, their three sons and the entire family circle.
Photographs courtesy of the Belfast Telegraph and the Glentoran Gazette.