Supporters are advised that a minute’s silence will be held in memory of former Cliftonville striker Ron Manley ahead of Saturday’s opening Danske Bank Premiership fixture with Glentoran at The Oval.
A legend at the Glens – for whom he was a prolific goalscorer between 1979 and 1992, prior to his arrival at Solitude – ‘Yorkie’ scored 26 goals in 122 appearances for the Reds and made a particularly significant contribution to confirming the Club’s place in the inaugural Irish Premier League.
His double in a 2-1 victory at The Coleraine Showgrounds on April 17, 1995 made it all-but-certain that Cliftonville would feature in the newly-formed top flight the following season, while his equaliser in a 2-2 draw with Glenavon five days later provided mathematical guarantees.
It was, however, an iconic Gold Cup strike in a 1-0 win over Linfield on September 11, 1993 for which he is perhaps most fondly recalled by the Red Army. Seizing on a looping ball in the air, Ron arched his body downward and executed an inch-perfect volley that nestled in the far corner of the net before striding away in typically understated celebration – displaying a cool demeanour that contrasted vividly with the scene unfolding on the terracing behind the goal.
It’s entirely fitting that Cliftonville’s first domestic fixture since Ron’s sad loss in June should be against his boyhood team at the venue where he truly made his name and, in addition to the tributary silence immediately prior to kick-off, representatives of Cliftonville FC will be present at the official opening of the new Ron Manley Suite at The Oval earlier in the day.