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Relegation pain won't be forgotten, insists boss Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter

By Graham Luney

Published 07/05/2015

Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter
Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter

Stephen Baxter says Crusaders will have to learn the lessons of the past to taste more glory days in the years to come.

The club may be celebrating only their fifth title triumph but their last Gibson Cup success came in 1997 and after years spent battling relegation, they suffered the dreaded drop to Intermediate football in 2005.

Baxter, who has just celebrated 10 years as Crues boss, says the tough years should never be forgotten while a new glorious chapter is penned.

"We will just continue to work hard and do things right," said Baxter, who was crowned BT Sport Manager of the Year on Monday night. "I think at the moment we are nearly debt free so you just have to keep adding good players.

"Eight years after we won the title in 1997 we were relegated and we won't forget that."

Relegation hit Crusaders hard and the supporters were devastated but it allowed the north-Belfast club to regroup away from the spotlight and return to the big time with renewed hunger.

"To get relegated and see grown men cry was hard to take and for a while there were fears the doors would be locking," added Baxter. "We were in bad financial trouble but on reflection relegation is probably the best thing that happened to us.

"We were able to regroup and we drilled the fundamentals into the team so they would progress with a winning mentality."

Belfast Telegraph

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