TRIBUTES are pouring in for an Irish football fan who died suddenly while on a club trip to Manchester with his young son.
Stephen Moffett, 52, from Dungannon, was in Britain on a trip with Dungannon United Youth, the football club his 11-year-old son George plays for.
Mr Moffett collapsed in the Holiday Inn hotel in Haydock Park, just outside of Manchester on Saturday and received urgent medical attention but passed away in hospital.
Dungannon United Youth chairman Joe McAree paid tribute to Mr Moffett.
“He was a lovely, lovely man, an absolute gentleman,” he told The Irish Post.
“Stephen was the type of dad that was there on the sideline every Saturday supporting his son, he drove him all over Northern Ireland for games and would never rant or roar or complain watching the games.”
Mr Moffett travelled over from the town of Dungannon, Co. Tyrone town last Friday with his son George for a youth tournament in Manchester.
The team finished their first game in the Manchester and returned to the Holiday Inn hotel on Saturday afternoon.
Mr Moffett had just left the bus and walked into the hotel reception area when he collapsed suddenly. Despite receiving immediate medical attention from the club’s medic and an ambulance swiftly arriving, he passed away later in nearby Warrington Hospital.
“Luckily George wasn’t there when it happened. He had run ahead with the rest of the lads to go to the swimming pool in the hotel,” Mr McAree added.
George was flown home on Saturday night with a club official to be reunited with his mother and sisters in the North of Ireland.
Mr Moffett is survived by his wife Jayne, daughters Laura and Cathy and youngest child and only son George.
“Terrible news. Stephen was a great dad and husband and will be greatly missed by all who knew him,” Mandy Stockdale wrote on Facebook.
“So, so sad to hear this news. Stephen was such a lovely man, I worked with him in Greiner [Dungannon packaging firm] for four and a half years and he was nothing but kind to me,” said Karen McInstry.
“Have saw him many times since and he would never pass me on the street without stopping to speak.”
Mr Moffett’s daughter thanked the club members on Facebook for their messages of condolence.
“Thank you for all your support. Dad used to live for the Swifts,” Cathy Moffett wrote.
“Woulda never missed a Saturday. Devastated.”
The local community in Dungannon is today rallying around the Moffett family as they await news from England about when Mr Moffett’s body will come home.
“I’ve just been in with the family there, it’s devastating,” Mr McAree told The Irish Post.
“They are waiting for news now on a cause of death and bringing Stephen home so hopefully they’ll be able to soon. It’s just so, so sad.”