CLIFTONVILLE manager, Paddy McLaughlin has described Reds legend, Tommy Breslin as a true 'Irish League great' and a gentleman, after learning of his sudden and untimely death.
McLaughlin was shocked and saddened by the news and paid tribute to the late Breslin who leaves behind a lasting legacy with the Solitude club.
"It's terrible news," said the Cliftonville boss. "The club, staff players and supporters will no doubt be shocked and saddened at the news.
"Tommy was always in great form and such a gentleman to speak to, both on and off the pitch. You'll not come across anyone with anything but good words to say about him because he was an absolute gentleman and a genuine legend of Cliftonville Football Club.
"It's shocking and really sad and I'd like to send my condolences to his family and friends as I'm sure they're devastated," he added.
Breslin led Cliftonville to eight trophies during a memorable four year spell as manager, including back-to-back Irish Premiership titles in 2013 and 2014.
He made a surprise return to the north Belfast club in April 2017 to replace Gerard Lyttle in the club's hour of need.
Breslin also formed part of the interviewing panel when McLaughlin applied for the current managerial position and became a trusted adviser to the Reds' boss who went on to describe him as a 'loyal' and 'great' man who will be sorely missed by the entire football family.
"Tommy Breslin managed one of the greatest ever Cliftonville sides. That's success that might never be rivalled given the success he had with such a great style of play. It was fantastic.
"That's why he will always be a legend in the eyes of anyone who has anything to do with Cliftonville. He's one of the greats of the Irish League, not just at Cliftonville," insisted McLaughlin.
"The league has lost a great man and I'm sure the footballing family will be deeply saddened over his loss.
"He was always very loyal to the club," he continued. "He was part of the interviewing panel when I went for the Cliftonville job and I've tried to speak to him as often as I could since during my short time at the club.
"He had nothing but good advice to give me and it's just a massive loss for everybody. He was always a great man to talk to for advice and a great man to be around."
Cliftonville Football Club released the following statement.
"Cliftonville Football Club are devastated to this evening learn of the sudden and untimely death of Tommy Breslin," it read. "While the club will naturally pay a fuller tribute to Tommy very soon, at this moment in time our thoughts are very much with the Breslin family circle and all of his many friends, to whom we extend our deepest sympathy."