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Final day fanfare

Cliftonville’s 50th and final match of the 2021/22 season represents an opportunity for supporters, players, staff and Club officials alike to engage in mutual appreciation of each other’s efforts throughout a memorable campaign.

Mathematical guarantees of European qualification ensure that, for the first time since they were introduced by the NI Football League back in 2016, the Reds will not be involved in the end-of-term Play-Offs, meaning tomorrow’s Danske Bank Premiership encounter with Glentoran at The Oval will bring the curtain down on a year of huge progress.

Having sold out their entire allocation of tickets for the match, the Red Army will once again travel in significant numbers and will not only get behind Paddy McLaughlin and the players in the same unrivalled fashion they have done all season, but will no doubt grasp this final chance to heartily acknowledge the team’s application since the campaign kicked off back in August.

Win, lose or draw, we know that our fans are determined to enjoy tomorrow’s occasion and are all looking forward to sounding their gratitude for the many highlights that have been delivered since that opening day turnaround against Carrick Rangers right up to last week’s stirring comeback in the North Belfast Derby draw with Crusaders, with a myriad of focal points in between – including, of course, that never-to-be-forgotten League Cup Final defeat of Coleraine – providing golden memories for supporters of all ages.

The players have likewise been delighted with the backing you have given them at venues up and down the land, where the Red Army have made themselves seen and heard.

Your support has been a constant source of motivation and, having been sorely missed when you were locked out throughout the 2020/21 term due to Covid regulations, the clear bond that exists between our fans and players has been demonstrated time and again over the last nine months – with the latest show of proud recognition set to accompany this weekend’s final whistle as we bid one another farewell for another campaign.

With every ticket having been sold, Cliftonville supporters are encouraged to arrive at The Oval, where turnstiles will open at 4.30pm, as early as possible to avoid lengthy queues in the countdown to kick-off.

As our many dedicated fans will be aware, the Club has had major sanctions imposed this season due to repeated incidents including the throwing of missiles, offensive signing/chanting and the use of spoke bombs, flares and pyrotechnics.

We know that such actions are carried out by persons who have no regard whatsoever for Cliftonville FC, but we ask you, our loyal supporters, to assist and co-operate with stewards at all times to ensure there is no repeat of such scenes.

Our team have excelled this season, so let’s get behind them with Reds songs from the start and not those that have absolutely no relevance to our Club. Your support is truly appreciated.

Glentoran FC have, meanwhile, advised that any Cliftonville supporters found to have purchased tickets for designated home areas of the stadium will be denied entry and removed from the ground.