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Tributes pour in for cult hero Comstive who ‘loved Burnley’
FORMER Clarets midfielder Paul Comstive has died following a heart attack aged 52.
He made more than 100 appearances for the club in the late 1980s, scoring 23 goals including two in the memorable Sherpa Van Trophy campaign.
Tributes poured in for the cult hero from former players, fans and his family yesterday.
His wife of 30 years, Jill, said he had ‘loved it at Burnley’ and former teammate Andy Farrell described him as a 'top player'.
Jill said: “I think Burnley was his favourite club out of all the clubs he played for. There was something about Burnley for him. He loved it there.”
Paul, who lived in Southport with Jill, 51, and their daughters Lauren, 24, and Eilish, 19, died on Sunday.
He started his career at Blackburn in 1979 and also played for Bolton, Wigan, Chester, Southport and Morecambe.
But it is at Turf Moor where he is most fondly remembered, especially for his goal and performance at Preston North End in the semi-final of the Sherpa Van Trophy in 1988, securing the Clarets a Wembley final, which they lost to Wolves.
Jill said: “He was just full of fun all the time. He loved his daughters to bits and he was a devoted family man. We now realise how popular he was and we’ve been overwhelmed by the messages of support.
"He was mentioned on Sky Sports News and we were having a little chuckle because he would have loved that.
“He absolutely loved his football. We were quite lucky because all of his clubs were in the north west which meant we could carry on living in Southport, because he was a homebird.”
After hanging up his boots Paul continued to coach, taking on roles with Southport, Burscough and then at Southport-based Fleetwood Hesketh.
“He coached a few different teams,” said Jill, “but he had great fun at Fleetwood Hesketh with his friend Dave Massam.
“After they gave it up they would just go and watch games for fun. Dave would ring him up in the morning and say ‘where are we going today then boss?’”
Paul and Jill had celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary last year with a trip to London.
She said: "He took me to see Michael Bublé for our pearl anniversary. It was fantastic. We actually got engaged on my 21st birthday.
“He was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in April, which is quite unusual for his age, but it hadn’t been a big problem. He had had a bad cough and cold for the last week which didn’t seem to be going, but otherwise he was a fit and a healthy man."
Paul had also been a postman in the Southport area for the past 19 years.
Jill said: “Everybody knew him because he would wear his shorts all year round. It started out as a bet for who could do it the longest but he just carried on.
“He wore shorts for 19 years in all kinds of weather. If it was snowing he would be out delivering the mail in his shorts.”
Tributes were also paid by Burnley fans yesterday.
Alan Beecroft, from the Colne Clarets supporters group, said: “Paul was a cult hero among Burnley fans, he was a popular player who is very well remembered at Turf Moor. My thoughts go out to his wife and children.”
Peter Pike, chairman of the Clarets Trust, said: “I remember Paul playing in the Wembley game against Wolves, and although we lost it was a great day because it was just a year after we nearly went out of the Football League.
“He was a bright light as we looked to move forward from that era which is one of the reasons he is remembered so well.”
Former Burnley team-mate and current Clarets assistant youth coach Andy Farrell said: “Paul was a great bloke but more than that a top player at that level of football.”
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