As 2020 comes to a close, I wish to place on record not only my own thanks and appreciation but that of the entire committee, management, playing squad and staff.
This year has been a very difficult and challenging one for the whole of mankind, not just football. The pandemic we have lived through has turned our everyday lives upside down and led to the early curtailment of the 2019/20 season which looked so promising for us.
While the delayed 20/21 campaign has been one of frustration for Cliftonville, the loss of large amounts of our supporters at games – including cases of there being no supporters at all – has caused Solitude to lose its soul without the Red Army and I’ve no doubt this has impacted on player performances, as fans are the heart and soul of our Club.
Though the last few months have been very frustrating for the management and players, I urge everyone to stick together as we hopefully kick on and progress quickly in 2021. The fixture plan for the next few months is chaotic, two games per week will have an enormous strain not only on resources but on everyone involved in the Club, not forgetting our players and their families.
Special mention and heartfelt thanks must go to all who assisted and volunteered, particularly in stewarding, over these last few months and helped us deliver the return to football protocols. I have been proud as each Club that has visited Solitude has commended and praised the organisation and procedures in place on matchdays.
As we draw 2020 to a close, we keep in mind those members of the Club and support no longer with us and think of their families at this time. Hopefully in the future, we can look forward to a packed Solitude with the Red Army in full voice backing the team and remembering those whom we have lost.
In closing, I thank everyone who has played a part in our Club this year. No part is too big and none too small – to all our supporters, players, management, staff and sponsors, thank you and a very happy, safe and hopefully trophy-laden New Year to you and your families.