Crewe United are shocked and saddened at the untimely passing of former player and manager Tommy Breslin.
‘Bressie’ joined the club as a raw young talent but very quickly made a huge impact at Crewe Park. As Crewe manager Tom McKenna began to assemble an unforgettable squad, Tommy was to be an integral part of the success that was to come.
The young Bressie was one of the main factors in the club lifting the IFA Junior Cup in 1983 at Mourneview Park as the Glenavy side defeated Enniskillen Rangers in a 1-0 win. Not a classic by any means but without Tommy’s goals on that Cup run we would not have achieved such a historic feat.
It wasn’t long before Bressie caught the attention of the bigger clubs and it was then Cliftonville came calling. At that stage he had already helped create a legacy and success that to this day hasn’t been repeated at Crewe Park given the success of that group of players. Little did we know the legacy that lay before him.
His playing ability was never in question. So comfortable on the ball, a ‘rolls royce’ of a player, a mercurial talent. His quiet temperament made him a rarity of a footballer but his talent spoke for itself . His ability and commitment to his club and team mates made him stand out from other players. It was his kindness and humility that made him stand out as a person.
No one could have foreseen the journey that Tommy had as a player with Cliftonville. We were lucky that he wanted to come back to where it all started to finish his playing days at roll back the years in the Crewe Shirt. Privileged indeed.
When the opportunity arose to manage the club were it all started Tommy took up the mantle with his usual appreciative and laid back manner. Everything with Tommy was done with a smile on his face. It didn’t work out at that time as a manager but we were just happy to have him back with us.
After that he moved on and again it was with Cliftonville he made his mark as a manager. The same path he had taken as a player, now replicated in his managerial journey. We watched from Glenavy as he scaled new heights with Cliftonville and we were, and are, forever proud of what Tommy achieved.
In recent times he has stayed in touch with the club and we were always so happy to see him coming through the gates at Crewe Park. It is also sadly ironic that in Eamonn McCarthy and Gerard Lyttle helping out this season that his friends are overseeing the club where it all began.
Much will be written and said over the coming days and weeks about Tommy Breslin. The one thing that will stand out is that from East to West, North to South, everyone will remember a kind, happy, gentle man who transcended everything all because he was a decent, honest person who had an undoubtable talent and love for football.
As with all the Crewe players of his vintage, he will forever be remembered by our club and stories told about him and the success at that time. But there was something special about Bressie that even his team mates acknowledged, and still acknowledge.
To his family we send our heartfelt condolences but we look upon his life with a smile on our faces, just the way Tommy lived his life and played his football.
Goodnight Tommy, a piece of Crewe United will forever be yours. Thank you for your life and legacy. The Committee, Members, Players & Officials of Crewe United.