John F. Kennedy of the Friends of the Rebel Army Society (FORAS), Cork City FC and the ISN (the Irish Supporters Network) passed away recently.
John was a person that if you met him you would remember him. His passion was Cork City Football Club and his motto was City Til I Die, and Beyond. He lived in a Cork city suburb called Mahon, but his heart was always in his hometown in West Cork – Skibbereen.
John was all about the community, he believed that a football club should be embedded in the community and the way to do that was to speak with the people face-to-face. To that end, you would find him involved in charity events for many different organisations across the city, county, and country. You would find him spending time with individuals and organisations, listening to them, and providing help and support. He made time for everyone.
John also believed in the fan-ownership model of a football club. If you research the history of Cork football, or soccer as it is known by in Ireland, you will see that many clubs have come and gone since 1924, Cork City FC was founded in 1984. The club had various owners but in 2010 FORAS took 100% control of the temporarily renamed Cork City FORAS Co-op, and has remained 100% fan owned since. John served on the board of FORAS for 6 years and ensured that the community was a focus for everyone associated with the club whether they were FORAS member or not.
John was the first person you would see upon entering the gates of Turner’s Cross, normally surrounded by groups of children that he had arranged to come and watch a game from the Family Enclosure stand – the noisy section. He was also the organiser of away day busses for supporters – the Family Express, a service he had been voluntarily providing to the club since the late 80’s.
John firmly believed in the SD Europe projects that he enjoyed participating in. He saw first-hand that clubs are very similar with the problems that they encounter no matter what size the club is, or how many members the club has; by learning from each other we could help each other. He especially liked to hear what clubs did for their supporters to keep them involved and coming back, and what the clubs did in their communities to give back and promote the sport to the wider audience.
John leaves behind his wife Christine, and children Aaron and Grace. Our thoughts are with them, and all those impacted by his passing.
“City Til I Die, and Beyond” John F Kennedy