Cliftonville Football Club Chaplain, Reverend Dario Leal, provides a Christmas message to supporters around the world.
In it, he notes the key role the Red Army has played in supporting their team throughout the season so far and compares recent months to the difficulties of attending during the 2020/21 campaign.
In taking inspiration from the united spirit at Solitude, he is keen for people of all ages to take encouragement from the message of Christmas as we continue to work through challenging times.
It has been a great delight to see so many coming to Solitude and to our away matches. To witness your support for our team is moving and encouraging. The Reds are playing amazing and no one can stop us from dreaming – and we, the Reds, dream big!
Memories of the stands being empty during lockdown and only a few of us being able to go to support our team is something that I do not want to experience again. The few of us tried to be the voices of many, encouraging our team. It was hard for all of us. I remember that I wrote during Easter that I longed for the day that I would walk on Cliftonville Road not alone but with the Reds fans, together to our home ground, and experience the wonder of the sport we love and cherish.
‘Together’ is an essential word because we are all Cliftonville FC. Your support has been outstanding and I believe this is reflected in the team performance – amazing!
As we walk through the gates and see our team warming up, we are family and family sticks together from the start of the game to its end. I have the blessing to be with our players and staff and I can tell you we are family.
This Christmas, it is my prayer that we encourage one another, celebrate our achievements and carry one another in times when we are in need. Encouragement can translate into favour, grace and peace.
May we have favour, grace and peace this Christmas, within your own families and within our big Red Cliftonville Family.
From the youngest of our supporters to the most senior ones, those who would love to be at Solitude but can’t, to our players, coaching staff, volunteers and Board, I wish a much-needed Happy Christmas and Healthy New Year
God Bless, stay safe.
Chaplain, Cliftonville FC
Minister, 1st Ballynahinch Presbyterian Church