'He loved the Irish team' - dad of tragic fan pays tribute to the support his family received from around the world
The father of an Irish football fan who tragically died at the European Championships in Poland has said his son would have been first in the queue for a ticket for Ireland’s upcoming clash with Denmark.
Jimmy Nolan spoke of how his family received support from around the world after his son James (21) died while following the Boys in Green in Poland in 2012.
Mr Nolan also hailed former Irish captain Robbie Keane, who paid an emotional tribute to the Wicklow man while he was playing for US outfit LA Galaxy.
“From day one, Robbie has been absolutely fantastic,” Mr Nolan told ‘Wicklow This Week’ on East Coast FM.
“He (James) never missed a match. He was an absolute dedicated soccer fan. He loved soccer. He loved the Irish team, he followed them wherever he could. As I say he was dedicated to the team,” he added.
James went missing in June, 2012 in the Polish city of Bydgoszcz. His tragic death shocked the nation and placed a cloud over Ireland’s campaign.
An Garda Siochana sent a team over to the city to assist in bringing James home.
Mr Nolan was speaking ahead of the launch of a new book - “40 Shades of Green” - which is being launched in memory of his son. The book is compiled by avid Ireland fan Eddie O’Mahony.
Mr Nolan said the support the family has received has been overwhelming.
“It was fantastic. Apart from even Wicklow, we got great support from our neighbours, friends and families and all throughout Wicklow and throughout the whole country, we got texts, messages emails, from England, Poland, America, we got communications from all over whole world. The local support and local help we we got was fantastic.”
Mr Nolan said that the book is something that can be passed down to the next generations.
After James’s death, Mr O’Mahony dedicated a website and online museum - Irelandsoccershirts.com - to the young Wicklow man.
He told the programme that the level of support shown to James’s family sums up Irish fans as a whole.
“Within the Irish football community, people do stick together,” Mr O’Mahony said.
Just 300 copies of the book are available. “40 Shades of Green” can be purchased via www.faishop.com.