Belfast Celtic 1891 - 1949


Enda Fanning - Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

It was with deep regret that word trickled through to the Belfast Celtic Society on November 26th, 2013, of the sad passing of Belfast Celtic fan Enda Fanning.

A key witness to history, Enda was the only Celtic supporter to travel from Ireland to see the team he loved play in the USA in 1949, as the club prepared to sail out of football forever.  A football fanatic, Enda was born in Ireland’s north west, where his family members had helped found Derry City FC.

In the Spring of 1949, Enda's father persuaded the Belfast Celtic board to allow him to travel with the team to New York and he went with the players on board the famous Atlantic passenger vessel  The Mauretania, owned by the Cunard White Star Line, at the age of 22.

A decade ago, Enda helped get established and shared his brilliant archive of photographs from the trip with the webmaster to help get content onto the site.  His pictures included a group of pictures taken on the deck of the Mauretania, as players, management and Board members lounged around enjoying the voyage. Originally from Derry, Enda was a regular traveller from Dublin for Belfast Celtic Society events and had the opportunity to visit the Belfast Celtic Museum at The Park Centre, the site of the club’s former ground, a few years ago after a major event at Stormont where the name Belfast Celtic rattled round the corridors of power in the north.  Enda was visibly moved by the collection of exhibits on display at the team's former home and remarked that he couldn't wait to come back again for a visit. Alas, it was not to be.
Enda Fanning (far right) on the US Tour

Recently, the Belfast Celtic Society had taken the decision to bestow on  him an Honourary Life Membership - unfortunately, he didn't live long enough to hear the news himself from the Chair of the Society, Padraig Coyle.  On hearing the news of Enda’s passing, Padraig said; ‘Enda’s name and personality was known everywhere in Belfast Celtic circles – just this week his name came up in a conversation I had with former player Lexi Moore in Derry.  He remembered Enda’s roots on Foyle Road where his father was a well known business figure, as an importer of fruit and vegetables.'

‘He was a gentleman in every sense of the word and indeed I recall at a reminiscences event in 2006 in the clubrooms of Donegal Celtic FC, Enda scooped one of the ballots - a framed picture of Belfast Celtic on the US Tour.  He immediately summoned Kitty Campbell, wife of the late Johnny, who scored for Belfast Celtic against Scotland in New York in '49 and handed the picture over to her as a gift. 

For over 50 years, he lived and worked in Dublin and despite his long association with that city, he never lost his northern accent and used to laugh heartily when people asked if he was down for the day on a visit.

Our deepest condolences are passed to his entire family circle at this very very sad time.’Enda Fanning is survived by his wife Ruby and his children Oisin, Enda, Grainne, Niall, Colm and Nuala. His funeral will take place in Mount Argos in Dublin on Thursday, November 28, 2013. A chriost dean trocaire - bhi se dilis go bhas.