Praise for soccer superstar who looked after disabled daughter

Football legend Eusebio, left, pictured with former Keighley soccer star, Trevor Hockey, and Julie Collins, who met both of them on a special trip to Las Vegas

Football legend Eusebio, left, pictured with former Keighley soccer star, Trevor Hockey, and Julie Collins, who met both of them on a special trip to Las Vegas

First published in News Keighley News: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Football superstar Eusebio – who died at the weekend – once teamed up with Keighley soccer legend Trevor Hockey to help a teenage spina bifida victim.

They looked after 13-year-old Julie Collins when she visited Las Vegas in 1977 to see her pop idols the Osmonds.

The Portuguese star and Keighley-born Hockey, who died aged just 43, were both there playing for the Las Vegas Quicksilvers.

Julie was on a free trip to see the Osmonds courtesy of Rawdon showbiz journalist and publicist John Rimington.

“I saw a piece in the paper saying how disappointed she was that a trip to see the Osmonds at Manchester had been cancelled and decided to help,” said Mr Rimington, then based in Las Vegas, where he worked with Elvis, Sinatra, Liberace and many other stars.

“I knew the Osmonds and sorted out for Julie to see their concerts and go backstage, where she even got a kiss from Donny.”

During her ten-day stay, Mr Rimington organised other events, including the night Eusebio escorted wheelchair-bound Julie to the stage at the Aladdin Hotel to meet Muhammad Ali during an America Honours The Heavyweight Champions event.

On learning of the Benfica and Portuguese soccer star’s death, Julie’s widowed mother, Rene, of Wrose, said: “Although my daughter didn’t know quite who, or how famous Eusebio was at the time, she later referred to him ‘as the nice man who looked after me so well when I met Mr Ali’!”

Sadly, Julie died from her illness in 1995 after six years of marriage, said Mrs Collins, 76.

“But I do have lots of lovely memories, especially of that trip to Las Vegas – and they can’t take those away from me,” she said.

Cult figure Hockey turned professional with Bradford City in May 1960, and went on to play for clubs including Nottingham Forest, Newcastle United, Birmingham City and Sheffield United.

A swashbuckling figure on and off the field, he would be seen driving around Keighley in a Triumph Herald Vitesse, which he’d had covered in blue suede.

Hockey’s travels ended in 1981 when he returned home to reform Keighley Town and tried to break into the Northern Premier League.

Tragically, he died of a heart attack shortly after taking part in a five-a-side tournament in Keighley on A

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