COLERAINE FC paid tribute to one of our U15 coaches who is still going strong at the age of 86…
Noel Lyttle was given a guard of honour by members of the U14 squad and interviewed by Alan Simpson on Tuesday night after deciding to step down after more than six decades involved in the game.
Noel was born on Christmas Day in 1936 and grew up in L/Derry, playing football for Ebrington Public Elementary’s school football team, although it was only friendly games as there was no football leagues.
Noel would then attend Foyle College but no football was permitted as they only played rugby. However, during those years, Noel played for the Boys’ Brigade against other BB companies.
At 17, Noel went to Stranmillis teacher training College and played for their team (Kings Scholar) in Division Two of the Northern Ireland Amateur League. Unfortunately, this is where his footballing playing days ended as he suffered a foot injury which required surgery meaning he could never play in the league again.
He graduated and returned to Londonderry where he taught at 21 years old in Clondermott Secondary School, there at 21 years old he was given his first team to coach. In 1959 he became Secretary of Londonderry Schools’ Football Association and held that office for 14 years. They developed a league which started with six schools and ended up with 25/26 schools involving both primary and secondary level.
He was nominated from Londonderry School FA to represent them at the Council of Northern Ireland Schools Football association and travelled for over 40 years once a month to Belfast for meetings. During that time he was one year Chairman and 24 years treasurer of NISFA.
Noel was one of three delegates from NISFA who represented Northern Ireland at British Schools’ Football Association and did this for 23/24 years. During those years he did one year as Chairman of British Schools’ FA and one year as President of European Schools’ FA.
Furthermore, during this time he was Principal of Carlisle Road Primary School in Londonderry, then Broughshane Primary School and finally Portstewart Primary School. He coached school football teams in each school until he retired in June 1998.
He went back to coaching football when his grandson James was five in approximately 2007 at Coleraine FC. They started football academy and he got his IFA Coaching certificate. Noel now is 86 years old and is one of four coaches for Coleraine`s Under 15s alongside Stevie McCann, James Watters and James Mulholland.
Everyone at Coleraine FC thanks Noel not only for his services to the club, but football and the wider local community. Well done, sir!