Cliftonville Football Club are deeply saddened by the untimely loss of our former player Ron Manley.
A striker whose prolific goal return earned him legendary status at Glentoran, ‘Yorkie’ made the first of 122 Reds appearances in an Irish League fixture with Ballymena United at The Showgrounds on December 28, 1992 and scored his first goal for the Club against Larne on February 6 the following year.
The last of his 26 strikes for Cliftonville sealed a hat-trick in an Ulster Cup victory over Ballyclare Comrades at Solitude on September 2, 1995, while his final outing came in a North Belfast Derby encounter with Crusaders on April 20, 1996, ahead of seeing out his career with a brief spell at Dundela.
A hugely popular figure among supporters and team mates, as well as being highly respected by bosses Frankie Parkes and Marty Quinn during his four-year tenure at the Club, Ron made a particularly significant contribution to confirming the Reds’ 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.
Cliftonville Football Club extends deepest sympathies and condolences to Ron’s friends and the entire Manley family circle at this very difficult time. We are proud that a player and person of such distinction and class wore the Red shirt and will always be grateful for his application and a friendship that lasted long beyond his playing days.