Qatar World Cup bid member!
Aug 9, 2019, 7:07 AM
Post #2 of 2
8th August 2019
Everyone at Solitude was devastated to learn of Tommy’s sudden and untimely death at the age of 58 yesterday and paid tribute to the man who delivered two Premiership titles, three League Cups, two County Shields and the Reds’ first ever home win in European competition during a golden four and a half year spell between 2011-2015.
A gifted midfield talent, Breslin made the first of 288 Reds appearances in a Gold Cup clash with Crusaders on October 12th 1985 and ended his playing days at the club when Cliftonville faced Ballymena United on April 24th 1993.
The first of his 16 goals came when he bagged a brace against Newry Town on St Patrick’s Day, 1986, while a League Cup encounter with Queen’s University on January 27th 1993 saw him find the net for the final time.
After returning to Solitude in a coaching capacity, Breslin was appointed Assistant Manager to Eddie Patterson before assuming the reins himself, initially on a temporary basis, in April 2011.
His permanent appointment would herald the most successful era in the clubs history with the November 2011 victory over the Glens in the County Antrim Shield Final delivering the first silverware of his tenure.
The following summer saw Cliftonville secure their first ever European win at Solitude when Kalmar were beaten 1-0 in the Europa League and, though the Swedes would claim aggregate success when the teams renewed rivalries a week later, the signs were already in place that a season to remember could be on the cards.
Fast forward two years and, with the Premiership title and League Cup having both been claimed and successfully defended during a period that yielded Champions League nights against Celtic as well as close fought continental encounters with Debrecen, Breslin’s third full season at the helm also delivered further Shield success and yet another League Cup honour, along with the somewhat less vaunted Charity Shield.
Though his legendary contribution to Cliftonville is cemented in iconic status, the measure of the man could never be quantified simply by a trophy count.
On and off the pitch, in and outside of football, Tommy, who returned to the Solitude dugout in a brief interim capacity for the final two games of the 2016/17 season, remains revered and respected for his gentle demeanour, kindness, quick wit and a warmth of character that endeared him to so many.