Tributes are flowing for Jimmy Colligan, a player and coach who achieved many successes at Auckland clubs, including Oratia United, Mt Albert Ponsonby and Metro.
He has died in Auckland, aged 78. Family and friends will gather on Thursday November 23 for his funeral service (see notice at foot of this story), followed by refreshments at Bay Olympic’s clubrooms.
Colligan was brought to New Zealand from his native Liverpool by the Mount Wellington club in 1971.
In 1978, he signed for Oratia United, where he became a club legend, making 152 appearances in all competitions, scoring 18 goals.
He is one of only 23 players to have made more than 100 appearances for the club.
In 1986, Colligan became Oratia’s coach for three seasons, leading them in 70 matches.
Colligan joined Mt Albert Ponsonby as a player in 1988, where he met Sean Hird, with whom he would form a successful coaching partnership.
In 1990, with Colligan as head coach and Hird and Chris Black his assistants, MAP won the Northern Premier League title.
Hird became head coach at Metro in 1994, where Colligan joined him, and the pair took the club to the Northern League first division title.
A year later, Metro were runners-up in the Premier League and won promotion to the newly-established National Superclub League.
In 1996, won the Northern Superclub championship and National Superlub.
Two years later, the pair coached Metro to a Northern Premier League title.
Part of his footballing legacy has been the continuation of the Colligan name within Auckland football circles.
His son James (42), who was a mascot for his father’s Oratia United team when he was five, helped Te Atatu win promotion to the Northern League’s first tier, and then helped Mount Albert Ponsonby win the Northern League second division.
As a coach, he led Te Atatu back into the Northern League in 2015.
Brother Jared Colligan (35), currently with Te Atatu, has been a prolific goalscorer in northern football, scoring more than 60 for Bay Olympic and a club record 102 for Mount Albert Ponsonby.
MAP tribute: ‘Much-loved’
In its online tribute to Colligan, MAP said: “It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of one of the true gentlemen and legends of Auckland football, Jimmy Colligan.
“Jimmy was a much-loved man by all at MAP.
“In recent years, Jimmy has been an ever-present supporter, on the sidelines whilst watching his boys wear the gold and blue.
“On behalf of everyone at the club, we send all of our love and thoughts to the Colligan family, Gayle, Sharon, James, Josh and Jared at this incredibly tough time.
“Your smile, laugh and honest feedback on our performances will be missed here at Anderson Park.”
Oratia United tribute: ‘A true gentleman’
Sharing the news with supporters at their 50th jubilee, Oratua United said: “Last night we raised a glass and remembered Oratia United and Mt Albert Ponsonby AFC legend Jimmy Colligan.
“Jimmy made 152 first class appearances for the ‘Tia and was truly a gentleman of the game we love.”
The club said Colligan had managed to catch up with former teammates at the recent Past v Present game, played at Labour Weekend.
James Colligan (October 30, 1945 — November 17, 2023)
The following notice has appeared in the NZ Herald:
COLLIGAN, James (Jim, Jimmy, Da). Born: 30th October 1945. Passed: 17th November 2023. Dearly loved husband of Gayle and Father of Sharon and Ian, Marie, James and Natalie, Josh and Kristina, Jared and Lauren. Adored Da of Jacob, James, Olivia, Ella, James, Haven, Macey and Lucy (dog). Son of the late James and Alice Colligan and son-in-law of the late Sylvia and Dick Harris. Brother to John, Peter, Maria, Sheila, Trisha and Pauline. A loved Uncle, brother-in-law and great friend to many. Funeral service at 3pm Thursday 23rd November at Morrisons, Universal Drive, Henderson, Main Chapel. “You’ll Never Walk Alone”
Through the publication of obituaries, Friends of Football tries to recognise the loss of those who have significantly contributed to our game.