Linfield fan who died at Cork City game was from Co Antrim

Windsor Park. Picture: Stephen Hamilton /Presseye

Windsor Park. Picture: Stephen Hamilton /Presseye

The Linfield fan who died at Windsor Park ahead of the club’s Europa League match with Cork City on Thursday has been named.

William ‘Billy’ Ritchie from Carnmoney became ill in the upper tier of the North Stand as the two teams warmed up prior to the game.

The 68-year-old father-of-four was a retired fitter who worked for FG Wilson.

In a statement released on Friday, Linfield Football Club said it was with “profound regret and deep sympathy” that they were reporting Mr Ritchie’s passing.

The club said: “Billy was a regular and faithful supporter at Linfield games as far back as the famous seven trophy winning team of 1961/62 and for the past 5-6 seasons he has been a season ticket holder.

“Indeed, he only renewed his season ticket on Wednesday this week when he also bought his ticket for last night’s game in the Linfield office in the Railway Stand at Windsor Park.

“He attended Linfield games with his good friend Jim McAllister who was with him in the North Stand when tragedy struck before last night’s game.

“Billy’s son Ryan has been in touch with the club today to thank the paramedics and others who worked to try and resuscitate his father last night and also to thank the hundreds of Linfield and other supporters who’ve expressed their shock, sadness and sympathy on social media and elsewhere since the sad news broke last night.”

The statement went on to say: “Ryan has also advised that the funeral service for his late father will take place from his home - 10 Fairhill Drive in Carnmoney at 11am on Tuesday and afterwards to Carnmoney cemetery at 12 noon.

“The deepest sympathy and most sincere condolences of everyone connected to Linfield Football Club are extended to Billy’s wife Ellen, his three daughters Karen, Carly and Sarah, as well as son Ryan at this very sad time.”