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Pioneering occasion

Not only does Sunday’s SPFL Trust Trophy third round tie represent Cliftonville’s debut in the tournament and a maiden competitive meeting with Queen’s Park, it will also see the Reds lock horns with a fellow member of the Club of Pioneers for the very first time.

An association which traces the history of football and celebrates its migration across the planet, the Club of Pioneers is a global journey to discover the oldest existing Football Clubs from every country in the world.

Aiming to gather and unite the game’s pioneers within the family tree of football and bring a light to the unknown and forgotten heroes of football’s past and present times, the Club of Pioneers helps tell these unique stories to the world in an attempt to capture and pass on the heritage of football that still lives on today, thanks to its inventors and pioneers.

Welcoming Cliftonville to the Club of Pioneers back in 2013, Richard Tims – Chairman of the world’s oldest Football Club, Sheffield FC – remarked: “Football isn’t just about the Manchester Uniteds, Chelseas, Barcelonas and Real Madrids – it was all started by the likes of Sheffield, Queen’s Park and Cliftonville and we’re going along, trying to tell the story piece by piece.”

Club of Pioneers
Sheffield (England): October 24, 1857
Wrexham (Wales): October 4, 1864
Queen’s Park (Scotland): July 8, 1867
Kjobenhavns Boldklub (Denmark): April 26, 1876
St Gallen (Switzerland): April 19, 1879
Koninklijke (Netherlands): September 15, 1879
Cliftonville (Ireland): September 20, 1879
Royal Antwerp (Belgium): 1880
Savages FC (South Africa): August 26, 1882
Hong Kong FC (Hong Kong): February 12, 1886
Yokohama (Japan): December 26, 1886
Academica de Coimbra (Portugal): November 3, 1887
North Shore United (New Zealand): 1887
BFC Germania (Germany): April 15, 1888
ATK Mohun Bagan (India): August 15, 1889
Recreativo de Huelva (Spain): December 23, 1889
St George’s (Malta): 1890
Albion (Uruguay): June 1, 1891
Tvoroyrar Boltfelag (Faroe Islands): May 13, 1892
Santiago Wanderers (Chile): August 15, 1892
Genoa (Italy): September 7, 1893
Odds (Norway): March 31, 1894
First Vienna (Austria): August 22, 1894
Fola Esch (Luxembourg): December 9, 1906
Ljuboten (North Macedonia): March 28, 1919
Sveikata (Lithuania): June 8, 1919

The Reds are the seventh-oldest members of the group (and would have been the sixth but for Dutch side Koninklijke HFC being founded just five days before us in 1879), while Queen’s Park are third, behind Sheffield and Wrexham.

While Cliftonville have met the Welsh representatives in a number of friendly fixtures through the years, they all pre-date our induction to the Club of Pioneers and Sunday’s game at Solitude – which pits Ireland’s oldest side against our Scottish equivalents just five days after our 143rd anniversary – will be our first competitive match with a fellow association member.

Cliftonville v Queen’s Park
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