Billy Kee was known by many in his early years as a dedicated footballer who plied his trade as a hard-working midfielder for Derry City and Limavady United. However, his true footballing love was Institute and as a player he was a member of the famous ‘Stute’ team which won the Irish Junior Cup in 1969 and he then later went on to manage the club. As a committee member in later years he used his great footballing knowledge to help guide the club, both on and off the field, from Intermediate football to the dizzy heights of the Premier Division in six short years.
Billy Kee’s friends and colleagues at Institute spoke from the heart. Club Chairman Trevor Porter: “Billy was a great help to me in my role as Chairman, he had a great knowledge of football and was always willing to offer me greatly appreciated advice. Billy was a good friend and a good person and the loss will be felt greatly by the club”.
Club President, Charlie Ferguson, who was a team-mate of Billy in his playing days: “Any attempt by me to chronicle the phenomenal career within the service to soccer and Institute in particular of Billy Kee could in no way do justice to his memory. It is not an exaggeration to claim that with others he was the guiding light of Institute FC over the past 30 years. Billy epitomised all that is good about Institute, both on and off the field of play. I believe, however, that the most poignant testimony to his endeavours can be seen in the development of the Institute Stadium at the YMCA Grounds, Drumahoe. Our loss is great, but we at Institute are heartened by the well-known sentiments of the poet Campbell, “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die” At Institute Football Club Billy Kee will forever live in our hearts. He has not died; he will always be with us.”
Club captain in 2002 Adrian Creane summed up the affection all felt for Billy Kee: “Billy had it all, he was a gentleman. He was a true Institute man – he played, managed and when both were finished he supported us, he never missed a match, rain, hail or snow.