Stanley Duncan


Stanley Duncan, former Belfast Celtic and Linfield player 

The Belfast Celtic Society. I played 1947-48…And that a photo of me there with Jimmy Jones, and Jerry Burrell who was a scout for Linfield.

I drunk in the Rock Bar, The Beehive,  Alderman Daily’s on the Falls Road. We went on the Saturday night, the whole family, and my mates, all up, sing song, sandwiches. That was in the Alderman Daily’s pub. But of course we all went to Ruddy’s as well too you see, Ruddy’s on the Donegal Road was all mixed. Oh aye! Ruddy’s was a mixed bar, everyone went to Ruddy’s. All characters. And Billy Winters, all the old characters went to Ruddy’s. Ruddy’s was a great bar. That was at the corner of Broadway.

I enjoyed my time in the Celtic Park. My first match was Belfast Celtic Second against Grantwood in Celtic Park and we won 1-0, and my next match was at Windsor with the Linfield Swifts and we did two each. 

Kenny McGrath. He’d played outside left for Linfield Swifts and I was outside left for Celtic Seconds and the two of us went up to the match together and came back home together. He went to school with me, we were all schoolmates! It just happened that I sided for Celtic instead of Linfield. 

Now I have to say I never played for the first team, I only played for seconds, and I played off the season. That’s the day they stopped. The day they went out of football, you know. There was a bit of trouble at Windsor, one of the matches at Linfield...and they dropped out.

It was different times, different. There was nobody getting shot or blew up or nothin’! It was always, ‘ah your team, eff this and eff that’, and all, but the next day they were all talking to each other, you know what I mean?

I went down one night, you see, from Celtic Park, I came down from training, see I trained Tuesday to Thursday night, but it was more than me out of Sandy Row at Celtic Park. Sandy Patterson, a Sandy Row man. Bumper Graham, everybody in Sandy Row knew Bumper. He played along with me for Celtic Seconds. 

I came down that night, you see, from training, and this man was sat on the sofa.  And he had the hat and all, and the hankie, and the briefcase with all the gear, and I says to my da, who’s that man sitting there? He says, that man’s here, he wants you to go down to Larne. I says, Larne? Yes, he says! He wants to know if you’d like to go down to Larne. I says, well what do you think? Well, says he, you mightn’t get in up there, because it’s hard to get into Celtic team, oh, they were too good, you know? Geordie Best would have been lucky to get into Celtic sports team! But anyhow, I says all right and I went down to Larne to play for three years at Larne. And I have three cups, two cups from Larne it the house. But I liked Celtic, I was well looked after there, the training and all was good, the talk and all. I enjoyed the time. It’s just a pity that they went out. I was what, eighteen, seventeen only, when I played there.

But you see a lot of them players that played for Celtic went down to what you called a Monarch Billiard Hall and they played billiards, snooker. And they were all sort of intermingled. Simpson played for Celtic and his brother Billy played for Linfield! You know, that sort of way, and Paddy Boner played for Celtic, and Joe Douglas played, but he was living in the Village, you know. We were all mixed up, all mixed together. And played snooker in the Monarch, Monarch Snooker Club. I was a full member there, I had my own queue, though I wasn’t a great player, like. 

The Celtic team was: Breen, MacMillan and Aherne, Walker, Vernon, and Douglas, Kernigan, McLinton, O’Neill and Boner. Oh I’ll never forget.

The Linfield team was: Breen and Feeney, Welch, Bryson, and McWilliams, McCrory, Welch, Hanna, Lockert. Two Welch’s in the team.

I’m using my bus pass near every day. And what’s wrong with that bus pass is we can’t use it in Scotland or England! We are part of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. We should be able to use that bus pass. But I was talking to this man and he says to me, Stanley, that bus pass is council, It’s not government, different councils have different ideas. And he’s right in that, because I know people in Scotland. They can use it all over, they can use it in Glasgow and somewhere and then Edinburgh and somewhere! So if it hadn’t been a government pass, that, we’d have used it all over!

I was evacuated to Castlederg! We were all evacuated. Some were evacuated to Strabane. That man I was telling you about, Kenny McGrath, who played for Linfield - he was evacuated to just outside Castlederg. We were back there during the war, see, with air raid shelters and all, gas masks and all. In matter of fact, the gas - I don’t know, somebody’s pinched my gas mask. I had it in the house, and I went to look at it and it was away! You see, they get money for that there.

There was this wee man come up to my house in the Shankill, and I go to Scotland a lot, I like Scotland you see. And I was in there, and when I come back, this wee man came down from the Shankill. My father won a military medal, in the first world war. He had a box full of medals but a military medal was the top. He won that at Gallipoli, Turkey, during the First World War. And he had also seen action at Bridge and the Far East. But when I came back, your man had cleared all his things out. I went upstairs for the box, I says, where’s my da’s medals? I don’t know. Now sure he was a bit senile. Took the lot.

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