Belfast Telegraph

Linfield turn to Glentoran's home ground The Oval for home comfort

By Stuart McKinley

Structural damage to the Kop Stand at Windsor Park has led to an ironic twist, with Linfield now scheduled to use The Oval, the home of their bitter rivals Glentoran, as a home ground.

Normally the last place Bluemen would want to consider home, they will be there next Tuesday to watch their team take on champions-elect Crusaders.

With Windsor currently a no-go area due to safety concerns, the Blues have been forced to play their last two 'home' Premiership games of the season at alternative venues.

Last Saturday's meeting with Glenavon took place at the Ballymena Showgrounds and they will now face the Crues at The Oval in a match that was originally due to be played on Saturday, April 4.

Glenavon's Mourneview Park was believed to have been considered, but the Blues were keen for the match to be played in Belfast and, after ruling out surrendering home advantage to the Crues, it was decided that Glentoran's east Belfast home was the best choice.

In order for the match to take place next Tuesday the Irish FA have had to gain permission from Uefa, whose rules ban top flight fixtures in any country from being played at the same time as Champions League or Europa League games.

By the end of the season Linfield will have played their first seven and last seven matches of the campaign away from home.

With the pitch being relaid last summer it wasn't until mid-September that they were able to play at home.

The problems with the Kop Stand were noticed just over two weeks ago, days after Northern Ireland's Euro 2016 qualifier against Finland when the stand was full. The Irish FA is still awaiting a surveyors report into the problems. Next month's Irish Cup Final has already been switched to The Oval.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph