Living legend Pat Jennings has joined members of the Blanchflower family at the unveiling of a plaque commemorating one of Northern Ireland’s greatest ever footballers.
A number of political representatives also attended the unveiling ceremony at the childhood home of former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Danny Blanchflower in east Belfast.
The tribute has been placed on the modest house on Grace Avenue in the Bloomfield area, from where Blanchflower would go on to grace the English top flight, as well as the European and international stage.
He earned 56 caps for his county and topped a poll in 2009 to be named Tottenham Hotspur’s best player of all time - having captained the side during the Double-winning year in 1960/61.
The following season, all-conquering Spurs would retain the FA and go on to win the European Cup Winners Cup in 1963.
Starting out at Glentoran, Blanchflower spent ten years at Spurs - voted the FA’s Player of the Year in 1958 and 1961 - and was the captain of the Northern Ireland team that reached the last eight of the 1958 World Cup in Sweden.
Danny got up and said ‘I’m with you Bertie’ and we refused to play for Glentoran for three weeksBertie Wright on objections to Glens’ manager’s foul language
Chris Spurr of the Ulster History Circle said: “Danny Blanchflower’s contribution to the game he loved, whether as a player with Glentoran, Spurs and Northern Ireland, or later as a manager, is acknowledged as being amongst the best.”
One of those at Friday’s unveiling was Bertie Wright, 95, who played with Blanchflower at Glentoran in the 1940s.
Mr Wright, grew up in the Newtownards Road area but now lives in Laurelvale near Portadown. He remembers his former team-mate as a strong and decent character both on and off the pitch.
One particular incident - long before Sir Alex Ferguson made the half-time ‘hairdryer treatment’ famous - sticks in the life-long Glentoran fan’s mind.
“One day we were playing at Coleraine in the Irish Cup, and we beat Coleraine 2-1, but Frank Grice the manager came in at full-time and he was giving off to us and using a lot of foul language which I didn’t agree with,” Mr Wright said.
“I jumped up and said ‘I don’t stand for that language’ and told him I wanted an apology. He then said to me ‘who do you think you are?’ I told him I was nobody but then Danny got up and said ‘I’m with you Bertie’ and we refused to play for Glentoran for three weeks until we got an apology.”
Blanchflower’s daughter Gayle had travelled to Belfast for the ceremony.
She said news of the plaque being commissioned came as a “delightful surprise,” and added: “I will never ever get over how he’s still remember after all these years. Not just by the Northern Irish people, but throughout the world.”