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Cliftonville Football Club are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Paddy Madden.

Our former groundsman passed away yesterday, but will always be fondly recalled for his dedication to the Reds, for whom he never hesitated to go above and beyond the name of duty.

Born on November 18, 1944, Paddy grew up in Lepper Street in the New Lodge area of Belfast and was a regular at Solitude before he had reached double figures.

Legend has it that, in his youth, he used to leave Cliftonville matches with more money than he arrived with thanks to pocketing tips from other supporters after running errands to the shop on their behalf.

As he grew older, his connection to the Club took on more official responsibilities and it was with great pride that he assumed the role of groundsman, which he held for many years.

Many’s the time he could be spotted frantically trying to drain our infamous old grass surface as kick-off approached on rainy days, while fans who attended the first leg of the Reds’ 1998 Champions League tie with Kosice will never forget the sight of Paddy, with the teams already out on the pitch, marking out the touchlines using what is perhaps most generously described as rudimentary equipment.

Such was his committment to serving the Club he loved that nobody was ever truly able to keep count of the amount of times Paddy would work long into the night and, seeing no sense in returning home for a brief spell before reporting back for duty the following morning, would simply resign himself to sleeping at Solitude!

He will be sadly missed by all associated with the Reds and Cliftonville Football Club extends deepest sympathies to Paddy’s friends and the Madden family circle at this very difficult time.

May he rest in peace.