OUR Tennent’s Irish Cup journey continues tomorrow as we welcome the players, management and supporters of Crumlin Star FC to Inver Park.
There is always a bit of romance attached to games in our ‘blue ribbon’ cup competition, and tomorrow will be no different. Once the draw was made, people immediately thought, could the upset be at Inver Park, they may see it as David v Goliath, but the reality is its eleven v eleven over ninety minutes, and anything can happen.
‘The Star’ are an experienced, well drilled outfit who are no strangers to success down the years. The current squad under the tutelage of my good friend Paul ‘Choo’ Trainor have taken on this baton and run with it over the last number of seasons, with unprecedented success along the way.
Make no mistake, if we are to progress to the last eight, we are going to have to be on our game and be prepared to dig deep and battle. We are going to know we’ve been in a game, but we’ve done our homework and go into the game with confidence on the back of some positive performances of late.
To quote Big Choo, ‘it’s all about putting the wee round thing in the big square thing’, if we do that more often than our visitors, we’ll be ok! Let’s get behind us and shout us home.
Thursday saw the close of the infamous January transfer window, with us getting the two-and-a-half-year deal for Fuad Sule over the line at the eleventh hour. The timing of this was definitely not in the planning, but the process was protracted due to the wording of contracts and clauses etc from the selling club. Fudzer was in no way party to this, as both he and his agent were clear from the outset as to where they saw his future. We look forward to seeing Fuad continue to grow as we both progress on our footballing journey.
I would like to thank Tiernan and in particular Archie Smyth for their hard work on getting this over the line. Archie put 16 hours into this on Thursday alone, with countless phone calls, emails and contract drafts. We were liaising with Kenny in Los Angeles from 2am in the morning, the Barnet people were liaising with their Chairman in South Africa, so you can picture the scene. It wasn’t easy, but we got there in the end…
In relation to transfers I would like to make one point, as there has been a little negativity around our activity in January. We are all living the dream, but the reality is we are not playing ‘fantasy football’.
You have to trust in the manager and the senior leadership team to make the decisions we believe are right for the club, both on a footballing and commercial front. We have a clear vision of what we want to achieve between now and the end of the season and what is required to do this, we know what we want and what we need to make a fist of next season, you need to trust us.
We talk a lot around the club about creating the right cultures, one of the team cultures we have very much involves you, our supporters. Keep getting behind us and I can assure you, we will keep doing the right things and work tirelessly to deliver the success we all crave.
Before concluding, it was with great sadness that we said goodbye this week to Mr. Jim McKinstry. Jim was not only one of our club’s greatest sons, indeed he was one our town’s most respected sons. Jim may have lost his battle with dementia, but right up to the end, he never lost his love for this football club. John regularly told me that his Dad was asking, and indeed took great delight in hearing of the results coming out of Inver Park.
Tomorrow we will pay our respects as a club with the players wearing black armbands, the club flag being flown at half mast and by observing a minute’s silence prior to kick off. John and Gary will join us in the Directors Box to observe this. Jim, I’ll see you at the back post…
All that remains is for me to thank this week’s match sponsor, who is with us for each and every cup tie this season My Home Move, our match ball sponsor, who are Champions Kick Boxing Club. We are also grateful to The Curran Court Hotel, Graham’s Pizza and Classic Drinks for their ongoing support.