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Tommy Stewart

Name: Thomas C. Stewart
Born: 1935, Belfast
Died: 2 November 2006
Height: 5.04 ft
Weight: 10.00 st
Position: Outside-Right

Representative Honours: Northern Ireland: 1 Full Cap (1961), 1 Amateur Cap (1957), Junior Caps; Irish League: 1 Cap (1960).
Club Honours: (with Linfield) Irish League Champion 1958/59, 1959/60, 1960/61, 1961/62, 1965/66; Irish Cup Winner 1959/60, 1961/62, 1962/63, Runner-Up 1960/61; Gold Cup Winner; Ulster Cup Winner; City Cup Winner; Co. Antrim Shield Winner; North-South Cup Winner 1961/62.

Club Career:
FA Cup
Ballymena United
Hamilton Steelers
(Eastern Canada Professional Soccer League)

Tommy Stewart, "Wee Stewarty", was brought up in the Ligoniel area of North Belfast, but it was with Ballymena that he gained his first experience of senior football. Signed by Linfield in 1957, his Windsor Park career was almost cut short after a clash with Portadown's Billy McCullough fractured his leg in a 1958 Irish Cup tie.

Stewart recovered to win the first of three Irish Cup winner's medals with a 5-1 defeat of Ards in 1960. That same year he added inter-league honours to his Junior and Amateur caps, running the right-wing with Linfield colleague Bobby Braithwaite on the left, as the Football League defeated their Irish counterparts 5-2 in Blackpool. Described as a "tricky, speedy winger, [who] proves elusive to full backs" in the programme notes, Stewart didn't have to wait long to add Full international honours to his collection.

In April 1961 Everton refused to release Billy Bingham for international duty, and for the first time in nearly a decade a different man was to get a chance on the right-wing - that man was Tommy Stewart. The match against Wales at Windsor Park turned out to be a disappointing one, the Irish defeated 5-1. Back on the domestic front Linfield scraped to an Irish League title success with a play-off victory over Portadown, but the "Double" was lost in disastrous fashion as Glenavon defeated Linfield 5-1 in the Irish Cup final.

The following season was to firmly wipe away any bad memories. Tommy Stewart played in 46 of Linfield's sixty matches that resulted in a seven-trophy haul of Irish League, Irish Cup, Gold Cup, Ulster Cup, City Cup, Co. Antrim Shield and North-South Cup. Stewart's medal collection continued to grow until he left Linfield in the mid-1960s, his place on the right-wing going to his former inside-forward foil, Billy Ferguson.

With his playing days behind him, Tommy Stewart was able to concentrate on his other big interest, pigeon racing. In 2003 he returned to Linfield, along with other former Northern Ireland internationals, for a special awards dinner. He died, aged 71, following a period of illness.

Northern Ireland Cap Details:
12-04-1961 Wales... H L 1-5 BC
Summary: 1/0. Won 0, Drew 0, Lost 1.

Northern Ireland Amateur Cap Details:
23-02-1957 Scotland H W 4-1

Summary: 1/0. Won 1, drew 0, Lost 0.


Oshawa said…
My da knew Tommy and took me to meet him at his house --- I was about 10 years old, so it would have been 1963 or thereabouts. I remember him bringing out his "cap" and showing it to us. I was in awe of the man!