A FORMER Saints football legend who ran a pub in Milford is alive, says his son – after his obituary was mistakenly published by a local newspaper.
George O’Brien (84), who lived in the village for several years and was landlord of the Smugglers, was wrongly reported by the Daily Echo on Thursday to have died at the care home where he resides in Southampton.
George still has relatives in Milford, including his grandson, Stuart O’Brien, who said the incorrect announcement of his death had deeply upset the family.
Stuart told the A&T: “To be told your grandfather is dead in a text message from someone who had seen the report was very upsetting.
“I just can’t understand how they can publish something like that without checking with the family.
“It took me a good few hours until I found out he was still alive.
“It was awful. Everyone was scrambling around trying to find out what was going on and then eventually my uncle in Scotland managed to get hold of the rest home that he’s in and they said, no he’s here – he’s fine.
“He had been hospital but nobody would know that and now he’s back here.
“Some of the staff at the home had seen the story in the Echo so they were all panicking trying to make contact with the family to let them know he was okay.”
Born in Scotland, George started his career with Dunfermline Athletic and went on to become a star playing up front for Saints, then based at the Dell.
He was signed from Leeds United before enjoying a successful spell over several years in the 1960s as the club rose to the First Division. He later played for Leyton Orient and Aldershot and amassed more than 200 goals over his career.
The Daily Echo, based in Southampton, pulled the article from its website and on Friday published an online apology for the error.
It said: “The Southern Daily Echo apologises unreservedly to George O’Brien and his family and friends for wrongly publishing the Saints legend’s obituary in yesterday’s editions.
“It was erroneously reported that George, one of the greatest goalscorers in the club’s history, had passed away after suffering with dementia.
“We deeply regret the distress this has caused but are pleased to report he is living in a care home in Southampton.”
It added: “The obituary was published after checks with independent sources including an ex-colleague of George who claimed a family member had confirmed his passing.”