Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Breslin needs response from Cliftonville

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

Cliftonville manager Tommy Breslin
Cliftonville manager Tommy Breslin

In 1998, Cliftonville won their first Irish League title in 88 years.

The following season is remembered by Reds fans for the Irish Cup final that never was, when Marty Quinn's team were prevented from facing Portadown in the decider after Simon Gribben was found to be ineligible in the north Belfast club's semi success over Linfield.

It's also worth noting in that campaign the Reds finished second bottom in the table and needed to win a play-off against Ards to stay in Northern Ireland's top division!

I'm not saying the same fate will befall the current Cliftonville team, but unless they get their act together, the Solitude outfit are sure to be labelled one season wonders.

Last season the Reds, inspired by canny manager Tommy Breslin off the field and the likes of captain George McMullan, Liam Boyce, Joe Gormley, Barry Johnston, Conor Devlin and Stephen Garrett on it, won the title playing a stylish brand of football. It was good to watch.

Had they not been so cocky when leading in the Irish Cup final against Glentoran, who went on to win 3-1, the Reds would have been celebrating a treble!

This season, Cliftonville aren't performing. They've lost four league games out of 12 and are in fourth place, four points behind pacesetters Linfield.

Hardly the stuff of champions. They are failing to cope with the pressure and you have to wonder if all the praise of last season has gone to their heads.

No wonder Breslin is demanding a response. He needs to get it – and sooner rather than later.

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