TOMORROW we welcome the players, management, directors and supporters of Portadown FC to Inver Park for what is sure to be an exciting game between what the bookies have as the two favourites for the Bluefin Championship.
We are all long enough in the tooth and have the war wounds to know however that sometimes the bookies get it wrong, but in this instance, with the quality and experience both teams have in their ranks its fair to say we would both hope to be in the shake-up come the business end of the season.
The hype and interest around the game has been slightly different from any other this season. The amount of calls and messages I’ve fielded this week from the press, past players, unattached managers and genuine football people has assured me we are in for a game.
Let’s hope both sets of players and fans embrace this, add to the occasion and ensure we give the Bluefin Championship and NIFL a spectacle we can jointly be proud of.
Since my last notes we have recorded back to back victories on the road against Dundela in the league and our neighbours Carrick Rangers in the County Antrim Shield, registering two nil victories against both.
It wasn’t just the victories and clean sheets that impressed, it was the nature of how we went about closing both games out that struck a chord with me.
We played some football, we won some battles, we got players some valuable game time and proved to some that we’re maybe not as soft centred as our opponents may think.
Before moving on from last week, could I please reiterate and back up what the players seem to be saying in their weekly newsletter columns. You really have been and will continue to be our 12thman this season. Please get behind us tomorrow from the off and try to shout us over the line.
We’ve embarked on this journey together and we will only succeed if we all play our parts in making it happen.
Remember, unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.
I have witnessed this on the pitch this season, with the boys hunting in packs and having each other’s backs.
Off the pitch, at boardroom level there has been a real willingness to help, dig deep and tackle the challenges our unprecedented growth has brought. This has been highlighted none more so than this week, as we endeavour to cater for what will undoubtedly be our biggest crowd of the season tomorrow, whilst trying to ensure we make a success of the opportunity our ‘Glamour Friendly’ with a Rangers XI affords us. It’s been tough but enjoyable and I thank the individuals who have been there and just got on with it, you know who you are…
On the terraces, you the fans who continue to grow in number, you have been outstanding. Our home attendances are up, our away attendances are up and being greeted with delight by many an opposing Treasurer, but the great thing for me is I know from old you still have so much more to bring to the party, so many more disillusioned fans for you to bring back and I believe you will. Enjoy your fan march to the ground tomorrow, be loud and be proud.
Finally, can I thank The Curran Court Hotel for their continued sponsorship of our pre-match preparations, our match sponsor Roy Logan, our match ball sponsor Larne Northern Ireland Supporters Club and our Man of the Match sponsor, Classic Drinks in conjunction with Vallformosa. Your support is greatly appreciated.
See you at the church end…