Sean Fallon (born 31 July 1922 in Sligo and died 18 January 2013 ) was an Irish former professional football player and a member of the famous Lisbon Lions of 1967.
Sean Fallon played for Celtic and became a legend at the club during his playing days from 1950 to 1958, playing as a full-back and centre forward. He made 254 appearances, scoring 14 goals. He also earned 8 international caps with the Republic of Ireland.
Sean Fallon started his football career with St. Mary’s Juniors and also played Gaelic football for Craobh Ruadh. He also played for McArthurs, Sligo Distillery and Longford Town before he arrived at the Showgrounds in 1947 to play for Sligo Rovers. He then joined Glenavon in the north before impressing Celtic with his performance for the Irish League against the League of Ireland.
Sean Fallon‘s love affair with Celtic started when the son of the Celtic legend Jimmy McMenemy saved Fallon‘s sister, Lilly, from drowning at Lough Gill. Fallon invited Joe McMenemy back to his house and the Scot returned the compliment by sending Sean presents of a Celtic shirt and Willy Maley’s book “The Story of the Celtic“. He realised his ambition when he made his league debut for Celtic, away to Clyde, in the last game of the 1949-50 season.
Within a year he had helped the team win the Scottish Cup, beating Motherwell, 1-0. Fallon said later: “As I walked off Hampden Park I felt I had got everything out of life I had ever wanted. I had become a member of the famous Celtic Football Club and holder of a Scottish Cup badge all in one year.”
Two years later Sean would also have a cup final goal to celebrate as he scored in the Scottish Cup Final as Celtic went on to defeat Aberdeen. The 1950s were a barren period for Celtic, with two major triumphs providing rare moments of joy for the long-suffering support.
The first was the Double of 1953-54. Fallon suffered a broken collarbone against Hearts in October which kept him out for most of the season. In the days before substitutes were allowed he left the pitch for twenty minutes only to return with his arm in a sling and continued playing.
The captaincy of the side, which had passed to him in 1952, was taken over by Jock Stein.
Fallon was back to full fitness for another momentous occasion in Celtic‘s history – the League Cup final victory in 1957, when Celtic beat Rangers 7-1 at Hampden Park. The match has since become known as Hampden in the sun.
Sean Fallon‘s performances for Celtic earned him the nickname of “The Iron Man“.
Fallon was forced to retire in 1958 through injury but his influence and importance at the club continued. He became assistant to Jock Stein when Stein took up the post of manager in 1965. It was initially proposed by the Celtic chairman Bob Kelly that Fallon should be manager, and Stein his assistant. However Stein vetoed this suggestion and threatened to take an offered job in England, leading to Kelly offering him the full manager’s job. The reluctance of Kelly to make Stein full manager may have been due to the fact that he was a Protestant, while Fallon was a Catholic.
He was an integral part of Celtic‘s success under Jock Stein, when he was the manager’s right-hand man and his powers of persuasion were often called upon to secure the signatures of promising young players who would go on to become Celtic legends – David Hay, Danny McGrain, Kenny Dalglish and Packie Bonner among others. When Jock Stein survived a near-fatal car crash in 1975, Fallon took over as caretaker manager.
He once assessed his own talents as a player by saying – “I was just an ordinary player with a big heart and a fighting spirit to recommend me.”
Fallon was the last surviving member of both the Lisbon Lions (he was the assistant manager) and the team that beat Rangers 7-1.