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Play it by year

On the first anniversary of the last Cliftonville match to be played without coronavirus restrictions on attendance, the Club takes this opportunity to thank our fans for their ongoing support from home as we continue counting down to the day we’re all side by side again.

Though we departed The Oval in celebratory mood after goals from Chris and Ryan Curran had secured a 2-0 victory over Glentoran on March 7, 2020, there was a detectable wariness of what lay in store for society in the weeks and months ahead. Few, however, could have predicted that a full year would pass without the Red Army being permitted to attend a game in full numbers.

Later that week, the Irish Football Association suspended all football under its jurisdiction – initially until April 4 – with Cliftonville’s Danske Bank Premiership tie with Institute at The Brandywell the first fixture to be postponed as part of measures to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Soon later, carried an update encouraging our supporters to remain positive…

Football will return. Cliftonville will be back. We want each and every one of you there with us when that day comes.

As difficult as it is for those of you currently unable to spend valuable time with members of your family, we are very sure that the prospect of sharing a matchday with them at Solitude can be a motivating prospect to work towards.

… all of which continues to ring true today as we edge ever closer to the re-opening of our society and the opportunity for fans of all ages to take their cherished seats again.

Since last March, Solitude has certainly lived up to its name with Reds matches either being played behind closed doors or with heavily reduced attendances to comply with social distancing measures. Living room sofas and anxiously-paced hallways have become makeshift grandstands and terraces for supporters tuning into live streaming services.

While the chance to avail of that matchday connection is gratefully received by our fans, we know how much every single one of you cannot wait to step back through the turnstiles and be there alongside us, together with the friends and familiar faces you have come to know down through the years. Every new dawn brings that day closer and the first Cliftonville goal in the face of that Red Army roar will be an occasion to remember.

We’ll see you soon.