Blatter expresses Haverty regret
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FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter has expressed his sadness at the passing of former Arsenal and Republic of Ireland winger, Joe Haverty. The Dubliner, capped 32 times by his country and inaugurated into the Football Association of Ireland's Hall of Fame in 2000, died at the weekend, aged 72, following a short illness.

"It is with a sad heart that I write to you today, having learned of the tragic passing of Joe Haverty," said Blatter, in a letter to the FAI. "On behalf of FIFA and the worldwide family of football, I wish to extend our condolences to you, to the Irish football community and, most importantly, Joe Haverty's family, friends and loved ones. Please let them know that today, the football community stands by their side. We hope that in some way, our words of support may help bring a little bit of peace and solace at this of sadness."

Haverty played for Home Farm and St Patrick's Athletic in his homeland, before joining Arsenal in 1954 and debuting for them as an 18-year-old. A diminutive left-winger renowned for his dribbling, speed and crossing ability, he scored 26 goals in 122 appearances for the Gunners before joining Blackburn Rovers in 1961. He went on to turn out for Millwall, Celtic, Bristol Rovers, Shelbourne, Shamrock Rovers, Chicago Spurs and Kansas City Spurs.

Haverty made his Republic of Ireland debut in 1956, and played alongside the likes of Johnny Giles, Charlie Hurley, Tony Dunne and Noel Cantwell during his ten-year international career. After retiring from playing, he became a scout for Arsenal.

"Older fans always tell me what a crowd-pleasing player [he was] when he was at Highbury," said former Gunners midfielder Liam Brady. "He was also an excellent scout for us. "We all are sad at this news because he was a bubbly character right until the end."