The former chairman of Charlton Athletic FC, Corkman Richard Collins died at his home in Bromley, Kent, on Sunday (17 September).
Mr Collins, 75, from Ballydehob and educated in Bray, County Wicklow, was also a past member of one of the Football Association of Ireland’s (FAI) key governing committees.
Mr Collins was appointed to the IAG (Independent Assessment Group) which handled the merger between the eircom League and the Football Association of Ireland in 2006.
He replaced Niall Quinn on the IAG as Quinn took up a job as manager of Sunderland.
Richard, a long-time friend of the Irish World, went on to serve on the FAI’s National League Executive Committee, which, with League Director Fran Gavin, was responsible for the control and management of the new FAI Eircom League of Ireland.
He was joined on that committee by Paddy McCaul (chairman), FAI CEO John Delaney, Michael Coady (honorary secretary of the FAI), John Foley, (Committee member) and Eamon Naughton (Committee vice-chairman).
“I met Richard many years ago and it was clear from that the start that he was very proud of being from Cork and that he had a lot to offer Irish football,” said FAI CEO John Delaney.
“Richard was a very valued member of the National League Executive Committee and he brought a lot of knowledge into the role from his involvement with Charlton Athletic.
“He will be sadly missed and we will pay tribute to him at the Moldova game next month. Our condolences to his family and friends at this sad time.”
Mr Coady, who was also a close friend of Mr Collins, expressed his sadness and remorse at the news to the Irish World.
Mr Collins became a Director of Charlton Athletic FC in 1981 before briefly holding the position of Chairman in 1983.
He played a key role in securing the club’s future and was instrumental in keeping Charlton afloat during a turbulent period in 1984 before becoming Chairman once again between 1987 and 1989.
A dedicated supporter, he remained as a Director until 2009 and attended most matches at The Valley, watching his last game last Tuesday evening as the Addicks met Wigan Athletic.
He was also instrumental in bringing current Ireland and Middlesbrough goalkeeper Darren Randolph to Charlton.
A building surveyor by profession, Mr Collins was a partner at Cameron Consulting Limited in Bromley, Kent.
He was a Chartered Surveyor (Fellow of the RICS), Arbitrator (Fellow) and Registered Adjudicator.
Immensely experienced in construction related disputes, Mr Collins was frequently referred to in arbitration and adjudication by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
Mr Collins was also a member of the Adjudication Society and the Society of Construction Law, appointed by the President of the Law Society.
Paddy Cowan, owner and publisher of the Irish World, said Richard had been a close, personal friend of many years.
“My sincerest condolences to Richard’s wife Noreen on the loss of her husband, and to Richard and Noreen’s children Catherine, Mandy and Bobby, and to their grandchildren, on their tremendous loss of a lovely, clever, funny and witty husband, father and true soccer fan.”