The Main Stand at Solitude formerly housed the majority of the Cliftonville support on any given home matchday but, since the end of the 2007/08 season, is now only opened when the occasion demands.
Constructed during the 1950s, the Stand offers fans a wonderful vantage point from which to cast their eyes over proceedings; running for approximately two-thirds the length of the stadium and casting an imposing shadow over the action on the pitch and also housing the Cliftonville FC Social Club.
Beneath the Upper Deck is a section of former terracing, which was likewise made an all-seater zone ahead of Cliftonville’s Champions League meeting with Celtic in July 2013.
Constructed during the 2007/08 campaign and used for the first time in September 2008, the new stand replaced the old Cage terracing.
Officially opened when Cliftonville defeated Celtic 3-0 on October 13, 2009, the stand not only provides seated accommodation for home supporters, but is now the new base for all of the Club’s operations with a Control Room built alongside the Press Box in the upper corner with changing facilities, Media Room, Ticketing Office, Doping Room, the Fred Jardine Physiotherapy Suite and new office areas within the main body of the facility which, having previously been informally titled the Cage End Stand, was officially named as The McAlery Stand (in honour of Cliftonville’s founding father, John McCredy McAlery) on September 20, 2014 – the Club’s 135th anniversary.
Shortly afterwards, a major redecoration of the stand’s interior was commissioned, with the tunnel area now home to striking imagery commemorating our back-to-back Danske Bank Premiership crowns of 2012/13 and 2013/14 as well as homages to some of the early Reds sides, not to mention our 1998 Champions and 1979 Irish Cup winners. In addition, the adjacent staircase now tells the story of Cliftonville Football Club, meaning no journey to the boardroom will be complete without nods towards the iconic Mr McAlery, the purchase of the Solitude grounds upon which our stadium now stands, our Champions from 1910, our European bow against FC Nantes Atlantique, George McMullan’s famous title-clinching penalty kick and the notable talents of players including Kevin McGarry, Norman McCaw, Maurice Masters, Charlie Tully and Sid Over.
The ‘Away End’ (behind the northern goal) is also known as The Bowling Green end on account of the bowling pitches behind it and previously consisted of covered terracing but was the first section of the ground to undergo major surgery when, in 2001, an 850-seater stand was constructed, offering one of the Irish League’s best facilities for visiting supporters.
Installed as part of a floodlight improvement project funded by the Irish Football Association through the UEFA HatTrick II Assistance Programme, Solitude’s new 800 lux constructions stand at 35 metres in height and were used for the first time in Cliftonville’s 4-0 defeat of Linfield on September 21, 2009.