The current Crusaders squad may be some distance away from emulating the achievements of the club's 1995 and 1997 Gibson Cup heroes but no-one can dispute the fact the side is moving in the right direction.
Under manager Stephen Baxter the Crues have been transformed from a First Division outfit into a top six Premier League side capable of delivering knockout blows.
County Antrim Shield finalists and CIS Cup semi-finalists, the north Belfast club are coming up with the right answers to tough questions.
There won't be many teams who will leave Shamrock Park this season with a winning feeling after falling 3-1 behind to the Ports. But if a manager's job is to harness team spirit, Baxter is proving to be one of the best in the business.
Long gone are the days when relegation clouds followed the Shore Road men everywhere.
"After we were relegated I said to the players we have a choice - we can do one of two things," said Baxter.
"We can all walk away from the club and do our own thing, I can go and do something else with my life and you can play your football somewhere else, or if you want to stay, I'll stay with you and we'll fight together to get the club back to where it belongs.
"I had built up relationships with the players and there was a willingness to stay together and come back stronger."
The Crues not only bounced straight back into the top flight last year, they did it with consummate ease, winning the First Division at a canter and picking up the Steel & Sons Cup and Carnegie League Cup along the way.
The Crues fans are allowed to dream of another title triumph in the future but can Baxter and his boys deliver it?
"My attitude to football is the same as in the business world, with short-term, medium-term and long-term goals," he added. "In the first instance we had to get the club promoted, then stabilise it, then go on and win trophies. At the minute I feel we are smack bang in the middle of the medium-term section.
"Bringing in established, experienced players like Darren Lockhart and Eamon Doherty helps us but it takes time and a lot of hard work to keep improving.
"In January, I will be looking to add three players to the squad to sustain our challenge."
This is a crucial campaign for all the clubs because of the 12-team Invitational League due to swing into action next year and Baxter has applauded the Irish FA for cutting the top flight.
"I think the 12-team league has to be the way forward. When I was a 19-year-old kid you had established Irish League clubs battling each other and there was great atmospheres at the games," he added.
"That's what I love about the Crusaders fans - they are so passionate and they travel in their hundreds to support us everywhere. And they aren't just fans, they are friends who talk to us and say hello and we know their names. It is a privilege to serve them."
Baxter, who lifted the Gibson Cup twice with the Crues and Linfield, is also excited about plans for the north Belfast side to move home.
"The club has exciting plans with regard to moving to a new stadium," he added.
"There is interest in buying the ground and Crusaders are looking at about five possible sites in north Belfast.
"So exciting times are ahead and, meanwhile, work will continue at Seaview to meet the criteria set by the IFA. The toilets, medical room and seating needed to be improved.
"I can understand fans having an emotional attachment to Seaview as they have supported the club 100% through thick and thin but we need to compete with the top teams on the pitch and off it in terms of attracting players.
"To be part of the elite group of clubs we must move to a new stadium and those plans are at an advanced stage.
"We hope it will be a marriage made in heaven with councils involved and Crusaders having a stadium as well as a team they can be proud of."
Baxter is confident Crusaders will make the Invitational League but some of the club's fans don't share his confidence.
Those fears, whether irrational or not, do exist.
However, they can sleep soundly in their beds knowing that if any man can lead them to the promised land Baxter can - and he's doing just that.