Arsenal fanatic John will be ‘sorely missed’
Archway Gooner ‘worked flat-out’ so he could follow his team around Europe
07 December, 2018 — By Emily Finch
John Fitzgerald (right) with friend Ozie Kir
A MUCH-LOVED carpenter who devoted the 1990s to following his beloved Arsenal around Europe has died.
John Kenneth Fitzgerald was a familiar face in Archway and Holloway where he was often seen watching matches alongside his friends.
Mr Fitzgerald died on November 16 at the Royal Free Hospital from organ failure. He was 53 years old.
His father, also named John, owned the St John’s Tavern in Blackstock Road and what is now the closed Black Cap in Camden Town.
His 16-year-old son, Harry, said: “Dad was a joker, but kind and generous. He’d tell me stories about travelling around Europe in the 80s and 90s to watch Arsenal every weekend. The tickets were expensive so he’d work flat-out in the week to afford to go.”
Harry is hoping to continue in his dad’s footsteps and become a carpenter. Mr Fitzgerald ran the firm Fitzy Building Services based in the borough.
“He was going to train me to be a carpenter like him once I reached 18,” said Harry. “But I hope one of his friends can take me on as an apprentice. I’ll really miss my dad.”
John, known as “Fitzy” to his pals, was remembered by his friend Mick Doherty this week. Mr Doherty, 51, is now an events manager for Islington Boxing Club but previously organised the unofficial tour buses for Arsenal fans 30 years ago.
He said: “I knew Fitzy since we were in our teens. We used to go to every game together. He will be sorely missed and we had so many good memories of our tours together. He was a good socialiser and since his father was well known in the area he was also well known in Archway. He was always up for a laugh and one of the boys.”
Mr Doherty helped raised £200 for floral tributes at Mr Fitzgerald’s funeral including one which says “Archway Gooner”.
There will be a 10.30am funeral service at St Joseph’s Church in Highgate on Monday, December 10, followed by a burial at 12.30pm at Islington and St Pancras Cemetery. A wake will follow at the Whittington Stone pub in Highgate Hill.
Mr Fitzgerald leaves behind his children, Harry, Holly, Danielle Nash, and partner Tracey Reid.