I wrote about Neil’s sad passing in 2002 and now ten years on this is in his memory:
We had heard the very sad news in December 2002 that Neil Riordan had died at his home on the Queen’s Park Estate in North Paddington.
Neil was born on 12th May 1947 in Warwick Crescent in Little Venice and was a life-long R’s fan. He later lived in Kilravock Street in Queen’s Park and when his mother died he moved to Ilbert Street. I can still picture him in the White City Community Centre before home games enjoying a pint and rolling a fag.
We gathered in the ‘Masons Arms’ on the Harrow Road, as we had done for Dougie Soar, for a drink before going on to the Chapel in Kensal Green Cemetery to await the arrival of the hearse and Neil’s family. Just before 2pm they pulled up outside and I noticed that along the side window of the hearse were the letters “Q – P – R”, made up of blue and white flowers of course.
As we entered the Chapel, we were greeted by the strains of ‘Blowing in the Wind’, a song by Neil’s favourite singer, Bob Dylan. Neil’s sister, Kathy Edwards told us that he was an organised man and when she visited his home after the tragic accident she came across some tomatoes on top of the fridge and inside was a piece of meat, a packet of Old Holborn, some chocolates, a bottle of champagne and twelve cans of Tennents, which in its own way represented his own basic needs. After the Service we made our way for the burial and Neil was laid to rest.
Afterwards, we went on to another pub on the Harrow Road, ‘The Flora’. Kathy insisted that the drinks were on her and the family laid on a lovely spread for us. As we chatted about Neil and the Rangers, Bob Dylan provided the background music which included his favourite all-time song, ‘Rainy Day Women’. The only exception to the Dylan songbook was the Dave Davies number, ‘The Death of a Clown’ which was the ideal opportunity for us to raise our glasses to him.
Neil was a colourful character, very contented and enjoyed his job sweeping around the streets of Bayswater. Just before he died, and even possibly the very same day, Neil swept up a 20-pound note and later put it over the bar in ‘The Flora’.
Neil’s nephew, Justin, is an R’s fan, therefore keeping up and continuing the family tradition. He told me a few days ago that Neil would of enjoyed Adel’s performance on Saturday as he loved a real ‘number 10’.
God Bless you Neil.
(My thanks to Justin for his assistance and for the above pic from October 1999, which shows Neil with a family friend, Neil is pictured on the right)