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The season’s numbered

The changing of the month also heralds the official beginning of a new football season and, though the 2020/21 schedule is yet to be ratified, this morning reflects on the facts and figures behind Cliftonville’s 2019/20 programme.

The longest season in the history of Ireland’s Oldest Football Club was elevated into unforgettable status by events off the pitch, but the statistics associated with a campaign that started way back on June 27 last year certainly make for encouraging reading.

Paddy McLaughlin’s side won 27 of their 46 fixtures across all competitions, scoring 80 goals along the way and conceding just 38 – including a particularly miserly 22 in the Danske Bank Premiership as the League’s best defence was breached an average of once every 1.4 matches.

The team won two-thirds of their 21 outings at Solitude and also clocked up 13 victories from 25 games on the road in a season that saw 28 players represent the Club at senior level.

Joe Gormley was, unsuprisingly, top scorer with 26 strikes to his name, 11 ahead of nearest challenger Conor McMenamin (above), with Ryan Curran next on the list with 10. In total, 15 Reds players found the net with three opponents registering own goals.

Gormley also led the way in the appearances stakes with 46 outings, although Ronan Doherty made more starts (45) than any of his team-mates and also clocked up an unbeatable 4013 minutes on the pitch, with Richard Brush (above) – who was the only player to begin every Premiership match – rounding off the top three on 43.

FIFA’s introduction of yellow cards for Managers meant that McLaughlin made a little bit of history when he became the first Cliftonville boss to earn himself a booking, while his squad accummulated 76 over the course of a 396-day campaign that yielded just two red cards – both for Liam Bagnall.

2019/20 in numbers
Premiership: P31 W18 D5 L8 F48 A22 Pts59
Europa League: P4 W1 D1 L2 F2 A6
Irish Cup: P4 W3 D1 L0 F12 A3*
League Cup: P3 W2 D0 L1 F6 A4
County Antrim Shield: P4 W3 D1 L0 F9 A3*
Total: P46 W27 D8 L11 F80 A38

Home: P21 W14 D2 L5 F44 A13
Away: P25 W13 D6 L6 F36 A25*
[*Includes draws that led to penalty shoot-outs]

Biggest Win
Irish Cup Fifth Round: Cliftonville 6-0 Hanover

Biggest Defeat
Europa League 1st Qual Rd, 2nd Leg: Haugesund 5-1 Cliftonville

Clean Sheets
Premiership: 13
Europa League: 2
Irish Cup: 1
County Antrim Shield: 2
Total: 18

Yellow cards: 76
Red cards: 2

Top Five Appearances
46: Joe Gormley (43 starts, 3 as sub)
45: Ronan Doherty (45 starts)
43: Richard Brush (43 starts)
42: Conor McDermott (42 starts)
40: Chris Curran (36 starts, 4 as sub); Conor McMenamin (34 starts, 6 as sub)

Leading Goalscorers (including Premiership)
26: Joe Gormley (18)
15: Conor McMenamin (11)
10: Ryan Curran (5)
8: Ruaidhri Donnelly (6)
4: Thomas Maguire (1)