Sean Fallon played for Celtic and became a legend at the club during his playing days from 1950 to 1958, playing as a full-back and centre forward. He made 254 appearances, scoring 14 goals. He also earned eight international caps with the Republic of Ireland.
Sean Fallon started his football career with St. Marys Juniors and also played Gaelic football for Craobh Ruadh. He also played for McArthurs, Sligo Distillery and Longford Town before he arrived at the Showgrounds in 1947 to play for Sligo Rovers. He then joined Glenavon in the north before impressing Celtic with his performance for the Irish League against the League of Ireland.
Sean Fallons love affair with Celtic started when the son of the Celtic legend Jimmy McMenemy saved Fallons sister, Lilly, from drowning at Lough Gill. Fallon invited Joe McMenemy back to his house and the Scot returned the compliment by sending Sean presents of a Celtic shirt and Willy Maleys book "The Story of the Celtic". He realised his ambition when he made his league debut for Celtic, away to Clyde, in the last game of the 1949-50 season.
Within a year he had helped the team win the Scottish Cup, beating Motherwell 1–0 in the 1951 Scottish Cup Final. Fallon said later: "As I walked off Hampden Park I felt I had got everything out of life I had ever wanted. I had become a member of the famous Celtic Football Club and holder of a Scottish Cup badge all in one year." Two years later Sean would also have a cup final goal to celebrate as he scored in the 1953 Scottish Cup Final, against Aberdeen. Sean Fallons performances for Celtic earned him the nickname of "The Iron Man". He once assessed his own talents as a player by saying - "I was just an ordinary player with a big heart and a fighting spirit to recommend me."
The later 1950s were a barren period for Celtic, with two major triumphs providing rare moments of joy for the long-suffering support. The first was the Double of 1953-54. Fallon suffered a broken collarbone against Hearts in October, which kept him out for most of the season. In the days before substitutes were allowed he left the pitch for twenty minutes only to return with his arm in a sling and continued playing. The captaincy of the side, which had passed to him in 1952, was taken over by Jock Stein. Fallon was back to full fitness for another momentous occasion, when Celtic won 7–1 against Old Firm rivals Rangers in the 1957 Scottish League Cup Final. The match has since become known as Hampden in the sun, a rhyme of the scoreline.
He made his league debut for Celtic in the last game of the 1949/50 season and won his first piece of silverware by helping the club beat Motherwell in the Scottish Cup final in 1950/51. He became captain in October 1953 but was forced to retire through injury in 1958. However, he remained an influential part of the club and became Jock Stein’s assistant in 1965.
As assistant manager to Jock Stein, he was instrumental in helping Celtic secure nine league championships in a row and the European Cup on May 25, 1967.
Fallon also brought names including Tommy Gemmell, Davie Hay, Danny McGrain, Kenny Dalglish, Lou Macari and Packy Bonner to the club.
He left Celtic in 1978 and became assistant manager of Dumbarton before becoming manager in 1980.
Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell said: “This is very, very sad news and our thoughts are with Sean’s wife, Myra, their children Marie-Therese, Louise, Collette, Siobhan, Sean and Sinead, and all of Sean’s family and many friends.
“Sean Fallon was a Celtic legend who devoted much of his life to the club he loved. He was, of course, a supporter, first and foremost, and he was proud to have worn the green and white Hoops that he loved.
“He did so with fearless distinction over eight years in the 1950s, and Sean was at the heart of all of our triumphs, including that famous 7-1 League Cup victory in 1957.
“Ten years later, he was part of our greatest ever success, winning the European Cup in Lisbon. Working alongside Jock Stein, Sean helped to deliver that trophy, along with nine consecutive league titles and numerous other trophies. He was an integral part of the club’s success, and also played a vital role in identifying talented young players who would go on to become great Celts.
“He was a gentleman with a great sense of humour, and always a welcome guest here at Celtic Park. And there could have been no more fitting person to unveil the championship flag at this start of this, our 125th anniversary season, than a man who gave so much to Celtic Football Club.
“Sean will be sadly missed but he will never be forgotten for what he did for our club.”
Celtic manager, Neil Lennon said: “We are all shocked and saddened to hear of Sean’s death, and the thoughts of all the players and management are with his family.
“Sean was a great Celtic man, and it’s been a privilege to meet him over the years. He was always a very humble man when you met him, even though his achievements in the game were extraordinary.
“He did everything you could ever wish to achieve in football, as a player for both club and country, while he went to even greater things in management alongside Jock Stein. For these things, the Celtic supporters have always loved Sean and recognised him as one of our own because it was always his great love of Celtic which shone through.
“It was a fitting tribute that Sean unveiled the championship flag back in August and the welcome he received from the supporters spoke volumes. We will all miss him.”
Sean Fallon died on 18 January 2012