Jimmy helps his beloved stripes

Coleraine fan and TV star Jimmy Nesbitt celebrates the Bannsiders' Irish Cup win in 2003. PACEMAKER BELFAST
Coleraine fan and TV star Jimmy Nesbitt celebrates the Bannsiders' Irish Cup win in 2003. PACEMAKER BELFAST

James Nesbitt’s love for his home town has always been there to see, and in particular his passion for Coleraine Football Club.

The star of popular dramas such as Cold Feet and Lucky man, as well as Hollywood blockbuster The Hobbit, is a keen football fan and always takes in a match at The Showgrounds when his schedule allows.

His support for the Bannsiders doesn’t end there though.

Yet again he has shown his commitment to the club he holds so close to his heart by making a financial donation.

“I haven’t really spoken about it before, I’ve given them money in the past and I’ve committed more money to the club,” he said.

“A football club is the heartbeat of a community and it’s a privilege to be able to do it.

“My three big loves outside of my family are Northern Ireland, Manchester United and Coleraine, and I still follow them with the same passion as when I was a child.”

Club chairman, Colin McKendry, thanked James for his continued support.

“It’s no secret to anyone in football that James is a Bannsider and is a regular visitor at the Showgrounds when he is at home,” he said.

“His generous support is welcomed by the club and we wish to publicly thank him for it.

“His support over the years has been very much appreciated, and his patronage of the Harry Gregg Foundation emphasises his commitment to the club as a whole.”

The news comes as a big boost to manager Oran Kearney as he prepares for the new season.

He has signed up keepers Chris Johns and Michael Doherty with Andy Findlay going out on loan to Wakehurst.

“It provides us with very strong competition for the goalkeeping position.

“Chris obviously came in last January and did very well, and he will start with the jersey this season, but it’s great to have someone like Doc who will push him all the way.

“Doc has always been keen to get into coaching, and has recently attained his goalkeeping diploma, so he will be taking over the coaching duties for the coming season.”

Adam Mullan, Ian Parkhill and the experienced Steven Douglas have also agreed new deals with the club.

“It’s another big boost for us to sign the three of them up.

“Dougie’s experience will be invaluable to us again.”

Kearney has also enlisted the services of Gareth McConaghie, who joins from Dervock.

“Gareth is in a very similar situation to James McLaughlin,” he said.

“He has bags of talent and was really too good for the league he was playing in.

“This is a great opportunity for him now to kick on again after previous spells at senior football.