Continuing a new weekly series saluting some of the most celebrated names in Cliftonville history, cliftonvillefc.net today delves into the Club’s Hall of Fame to salute defender John Flanagan.
Inducted to the John McCredy McAlery Hall of Fame in May 2019, Flanagan scored two goals in 103 appearances over four seasons at Solitude.
Formerly with Ards and Crusaders – with whom he won the Irish League title – Flanagan was described as one of the Reds’ “best ever signings” by contemporary observers and certainly endeared himself to the Club’s supporters with a series of exemplary performances at the back.
In the celebrated 1978/79 campaign – when, of course, Cliftonville lifted the Irish Cup and County Antrim Shield – only goalkeeper Brian Johnston made more appearances than Flanagan, who (along with Brendan McGuckin) turned out in 46 of the team’s 47 fixtures across all competitions, with his goal in a 4-2 defeat to Glentoran on February 27 representing half of his overall tally in a Red shirt!
Part of the first Cliftonville line-up to play in Europe when French giants FC Nantes Atlantique visited for a Cup Winners’ Cup clash a few months after that famous Irish Cup victory over Portadown, John may only have been at the Club for a relatively short spell – indeed, only three of the famous 79ers made fewer overall appearances – but his contribution was colossal, reflected in his status as a respected Hall of Famer.