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Flying colours

This week marks a year since it first went viral and, in the countdown to Cliftonville’s Danske Bank Premiership encounter with Glentoran on Sunday, we are pleased to once again highlight what is believed to be the oldest available football footage from anywhere in the world.

Originally captured by Frenchman Alexandre Promio for the Lumiere Brothers company in 1897, archive pictures from the fixture between the Reds and the Glens at The Oval – which has been widely available in black and white for many years – have been enhanced by Storia Colorata, which specialises in colourising historical video imagery.

Though the shirt colours are somewhat off for both teams, the distinctive shamrock on Cliftonville’s jerseys make clear which side is which, while the footage has been speed-corrected with the addition of augmented audio to try and present a more realistic account of the action, which is understood to have been stage-managed given the camera appears to be on the pitch at the time… and the Reds, resplendent in voluminous white shorts, make little or no effort to actually vacate their own goalmouth in what, by modern tactical standards, might be regarded as a particularly extreme example of a low block.

It may only be 43 seconds, but it is a glorious insight into a bygone age and yet another example of Ireland’s Oldest Football Club proudly featuring in an historical first.