Glenavon manager and lifelong Lurgan Blues fan pays tribute to Tony Scappaticci

The funeral of inspirational Glenavon defender Tony Scappaticci took place in Banbridge yesterday.

Friday, 5th May 2017, 5:01 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:43 pm
Pacemaker Press 4/5/2017 Family and Friends during the funeral of former Glenavon Footballer Tony Scappaticci at St Therese's Church in Banbridge on Friday. The 48-year-old father-of-three, who starred for Glenavon and Newry City, died at his home in Banbridge on Monday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Among the mourners at St Therese’s Church was Gary Hamilton, a lifelong fan of the Lurgan Blues and the current manager of the club.

He was visibly moved as the coffin of one of his boyhood heroes – who passed away on Monday at the age of 48 – was led from the church.

Mr Hamilton said: “You always had your favourites when you were growing up and Scappi was one of mine.

Pacemaker Press 5/5/2017 Glenavon Manager Gary Hamiliton and Goalkeeper Jonathan Tuffey during the funeral of former Glenavon Footballer Tony Scappaticci at St Therese's Church in Banbridge on Friday. The 48-year-old father-of-three, who starred for Glenavon and Newry City, died at his home in Banbridge on Monday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

“Him and my uncle Davy (Dennison) would have travelled together to matches. They’d have been round at my house regularly.

“When you’re that age and you have Tony Scappaticci in the house as a Glenavon fan, it would be like a young Liverpool fan having Stevie Gerrard in the house.”

The Glenavon boss added: “He probably could have played across the water if he wanted to, but he seemed to be content living here and playing for Glenavon.

“In my time of watching Irish League football there’s probably only Mark Glendinning who rivaled him at full back.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 01/05/2017 Former Glenavon footballer Tony Scappaticci. 1993 playing at Mournview Park The former Irish League footballer Tony Scappaticci was found dead at his home in Northern Ireland this morning, it's emerged.

“He loved the club and was a great servant to the club. The respects of Glenavon Football Club go out to his family, the children he has left behind.”

He continued: “Everybody knew off the pitch he had his troubles, but he performed week in, week out on the pitch. Some players can do that, some can’t.

“The thing about Scappi is he fought his demons. He became tea total for 13 years. He did something about it and that speaks great testament.

“It comes down to that attitude he had on the football field that he never gave up, he never stopped trying.”

Pacemaker Press 5/5/2017 Glenavon Manager Gary Hamiliton and Goalkeeper Jonathan Tuffey during the funeral of former Glenavon Footballer Tony Scappaticci at St Therese's Church in Banbridge on Friday. The 48-year-old father-of-three, who starred for Glenavon and Newry City, died at his home in Banbridge on Monday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Striker Stevie McBride who played in the same Glenavon team as the defender decribed him as a “real character”.

He said: “Scappi loved the banter and the craic and a night out with the lads. At the same time he trained hard and was fit as a flea.

“He was a fantastic player for Glenavon, and his death is very sad news for everyone connected with the club.”

Mr Scappaticci was laid to rest in St Patrick’s Cemetery, Banbridge. He is survived by his partner Michelle and children Stefan, Enrico and Sofia.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 01/05/2017 Former Glenavon footballer Tony Scappaticci. 1993 playing at Mournview Park The former Irish League footballer Tony Scappaticci was found dead at his home in Northern Ireland this morning, it's emerged.