Brian Symington

Brian Symington was an Irish amateur international who joined Exeter from Brighton in 1963, after turning down a move to PSV Eindhoven.
He played for the reserves but never made the first team and was release at the end of the season.

Brian "is a good friend" of Don McConnell (Barry's Dad)
They went to school together and played together in Belfast in their youth.

Don said the following about Brian in 2020. 

"He was a very skilful player who unfortunately had a bad injury which more or less finished his football career. Had that not happened he would undoubtedly have made a lot more progress".

He went on to have a very successful career for Action on Hearing Loss in Northern Ireland. He has been at the forefront of various organisations for Deaf people and was awarded an MBE in 2001 for his work in that field".

“Brian has worked with children and adults who are deaf, blind, visually impaired and deafblind in Northern Ireland for over forty years.  He has been Principal Social Worker for Sensory Impaired Services and from 1991 to 2011 was Director of RNID NI (Royal National Institute for Deaf People Northern Ireland).

And from sense.org - our trustees 

“He has worked as a consultant and has served on a number of Boards and Committees, including being Chair of the Ulster Institute for the Deaf and Honorary Secretary of the European Society on Mental Health and Deafness. He has also been a member of the Northern Ireland Civic Forum.  He was President of the World Congress on Mental Health and Deafness in Belfast in 2014.  Brian is currently a member of the Board of Habinteg Housing Association, Chair of Northern Ireland Sense Council and a member of NDCS l(NI) Advisory Committee.

He became an MBE in 2001 and holds a number of other awards.”



Terry Thompson

Hi  I remember Brian well when he played for Distillery back in the 1960's, he was a quality player, possibly if he reads this he might like to come along and watch the current team.



Brian Symington

Terry ,

Thank you for your kind comment. Distillery were very good to me. When I returned home as a teenager it was uncertain that I would play again. I had received a serious head injury and it was only when I returned home that I got medical treatment. I had been out of football for some months when Distillery offered me the opportunity to start playing again. It meant playing mostly on the wing to avoid heading the ball as much as possible. The risk proved too great and my last Irish League game was when I was 22 years of age. On reflection it was not a good decision to leave Distillery after two seasons to join Glentoran. Perhaps my biggest regret was not taking up the offer to go to Burnley when I left school.

I am currently involved with Sports Chaplaincy UK and act as Chaplain to PSNI FC and the IFA's Cerebral Palsy Team. I would welcome the opportunity to go along to watch the current Distillery team. I can perhaps do that when the team plays the PSNI FC.

Kind regards ,


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