The red and black welcome mat has been rolled out for Crusaders at Stormont.
After enjoying a reception at Belfast City Hall, Crusaders’ exploits last season have now also been celebrated at the heart of government.
Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín was on hand to congratulate Crues skipper Colin Coates and manager Stephen Baxter.
The 2011-2012 season was one of the greatest in the history of the north-Belfast club as the Hatchetmen won the Setanta Sports Cup, IRN-BRU League Cup and reached the semi-finals of the JJB Sports Irish Cup. The players and coaching staff enjoyed the reception at Parliament Buildings but the serious business resumes when the Crues visit Lisburn Distillery on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Crues chairman Stephen Bell has thanked the club’s Special Efforts Committee for their wonderful fundraising efforts. The Committee will no longer raise funds for the club.
“It was a very sad moment when the board received the letter from the Chairman of the SEC stating the committee’s intention to cease fund raising,” said Bell.
“The football club was indeed thankful for every penny the SEC handed over and it paid bills at times when we where struggling and put money into different things at appropriate times.
“In total they handed over £61,000 to us at the club which is no mean feat in six years. They will be sadly missed and can I wish each individual member all the best in the future.”