Belfast Telegraph

Cliftonville and Crusaders agree to switch league clash to Solitude

By Graham Luney

The final north-Belfast derby of the season has been switched from Seaview to Solitude.

Both clubs have agreed to the move which will allow more Cliftonville fans - possibly around 2,500 - into Saturday’s match to celebrate their side’s historic back to back title triumph.

The Reds clinched the championship on Tuesday afternoon while Crusaders secured another shot at European glory.

There were some fears that the game on the Shore Road would be disrupted by protesters but those concerns have now been booted into touch by this decision.

The Crusaders board proposed the switch and although they stand to benefit financially as it will be considered a ‘home gate’ some of their supporters reacted to the decision with dismay on social media last night.

Stuart Dallas, who left Crusaders to join Brentford in the summer of 2013 and has now helped them secure promotion to the Championship, said on Twitter: “Crusaders board obviously didn't think too much about their loyal fans when agreeing to change it.”

A Reds statement read: “Cliftonville Football Club have acceded to a request by Crusaders Football Club to host their final Danske Bank Premiership game of the season at Solitude this Saturday at 3pm.

“Reds supporters who have already purchased tickets for the game originally scheduled to be played at Seaview are asked to retain their tickets as they remain valid. Full details on ticketing will be announced tomorrow. This will include details for which areas of Solitude current tickets will be valid, ticket exchange and additional ticket sales.”

A Northern Ireland Football League statement read: “Following agreement between both clubs, the NI Football League Premiership Management Committee can confirm that this Saturday’s Danske Bank Premiership fixture between Crusaders and Cliftonville will now be played at Solitude, Belfast (3.00pm).

“By making this decision, a greater number of fans can now attend the match and celebrate the Danske Bank Premiership trophy presentation.”

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Linfield players Ross and Reece Glendinning are mourning the passing of their mother Mandy.

Mandy was also the wife of former Glentoran full-back Mark.

Linfield issued a statement last night which read: “It is with deep sorrow and much sadness that Linfield FC reports the passing of Mandy Glendinning, the mother of Ross and Reece Glendinning and the wife of former Glentoran full-back Mark.

“Mandy had been ill in hospital in recent times and the thoughts and prayers of everyone at Linfield are with the family circle at this very sad time.

“Mandy was so proud of her two boys playing for Linfield and the deepest sympathy and most sincere condolences of everyone at the club are conveyed to Mark, Ross and Reece.”

Linfield midfielder Philip Lowry stated on Twitter: “Thoughts and prayers with Ross and Reece tonight. Two of the nicest fellas, absolutely devastated for them. Puts everything in perspective x.”

Crusaders defender Paul Leeman said: “Thoughts and prayers for my good friend and Irish League great Mark Glendinning and his boys Ross and Reece on their sad loss.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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