20,000-plus honour Jinky
20,000-plus honour Jinky Stephen Sullivan
Friends, colleagues and former rivals – all united in affection for Jimmy Johnstone – descended on St John the Baptist Church in Uddingston this morning to pay homage to a magnificent player and an unforgettable and truly unique character.
Afterwards, a few of those who attended offered their views both on the service and on the man to whom they - and an impeccably behaved, 20,000-strong crowd in and around Celtic Park - came to bid farewell.
“He handled his illness with the same courage off the park that he showed on the park. Even right ‘til the end, he would always have a smile on his face.
“The tribute to Jinky here at Celtic Park is out of this world, it's superb, and he thoroughly deserves it. He was absolutely magnificent to the end and handled it well.”
“It was excellent. The speakers at the end were magic and the singing was great. I was at George Best's memorial service yesterday and this was very similar.
“With Jimmy, we had to have a few laughs. I played with him on quite a few occasions and have known him a long time, and we had some great times on and off the field. He was a bundle of dynamite. There are so many stories I can't tell any more.”
"He had a fantastic sense of humour. I felt that for the ability that he had, and the status he had, he was amazingly humble.
“He was an absolutely wonderful footballer and it was just a privilege to have known him for a few years. I was delighted when he was voted the Greatest Ever Celtic Player and he leaves a big legacy, there’s no doubt about it.
“Almost since I came up here, I think he was suffering from the illness. He had been diagnosed, I think, about six years ago and he had a battle ever since.
“But I think it was Jimmy Johnstone the footballer who everyone here has come to pay tribute to. He was one of the greatest the world has ever known.”
"I think we kept it together until we saw the grandchildren and they were all crying. They played 'You'll Never Walk Alone' and that's when everyone started crying.
"But it was wonderful - it had it's hilarious and funny moments and he'll be honestly, sadly missed, but it was also very humorous. It reflected the spirit of Jimmy.
"The three speeches at the end were wonderful, especially the true Scotsman one [from Willie Haughey] about 'When you're dead, your debt's finished.' I loved that. I will have to remember that at my funeral."
SIR ALEX FERGUSON
“He was an immensely talented footballer, but also he was a courageous footballer and a courageous person. I was fortunate to have played against him, but my knee's still trying to get back into place!”
“It’s not just the footballer he was, it’s the personality he was as well. Everyone loved him and spoke very highly of him, and he’ll be really sorely missed.”