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David Jeffrey: Why did Cliftonville boss Tommy Breslin take a fence?

By David Jeffrey

I must admit I was stunned to hear that Thomas Breslin was dismissed from the dugout last weekend.

Referee Raymond Crangle gave the Cliftonville manager his marching orders in the second-half of the Reds’ 2-2 draw with Warrenpoint Town and, in addition to the bizarre sight of Thomas simply hopping a fence to watch the remainder of the contest, I was left scratching my head as to what could possibly have led to him being sent off in the first place.

I have shared a touchline with countless managers over the years and, while always passionate, you could never accuse Thomas of saying or doing anything untoward. It’s simply not in his nature, he’s one of the most mild mannered, controlled and respectful people you will ever meet.

Obviously I don’t know the ins and outs of what was said, but one thing I can agree with Thomas on was his post-match assertion that clubs should be flexible where the fixture list is concerned.

I attended last Friday’s game between Glenavon and Glentoran — an entertaining scoreless draw, with a dominant Glenavon unable to replicate their first-half form after the interval, when they were grateful to Jonathan Tuffey for two cracking saves to earn a point — and was impressed by the crowd, so the option of spreading matches out over a few days is something that appeals to me.

I am pleased that, rather than imposing date changes like they did last season, the Northern Ireland Football League have eased that directive and are content to let clubs work their own individual markets as they see fit.

That may well be because of an imminent live television deal but, regardless, different days and kick-off times will work better for different clubs and I wholeheartedly endorse and echo Thomas’ words in that respect.

Now if only we could find out what he said on the touchline last Sunday!

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