Belfast Telegraph

Lawlor delighted as Reds finish 'embarrassing' season on a high

 

Big challenge: Cliftonville chairman Gerard Lawlor
Big challenge: Cliftonville chairman Gerard Lawlor

By Alex Mills

An emotional Cliftonville chairman Gerard Lawlor admitted his team's Europa League success has helped put a smile back on the faces of true supporters after what he described had been an 'embarrassing season'.

Extra-time goals from Joe Gormley and Conor McMenamin not only secured the Reds' slot in the Europa League, but boosted their financial coffers by a staggering £200,000.

It has been a testing time for the north Belfast club whose name was dragged through news pages rather then the sports section over the past six months.

Lawlor insists it has been a big challenge for everyone associated with Cliftonville, but it's now time to move on.

"It has been extremely difficult, and I can say openly, everyone associated with Cliftonville have had an embarrassing year," he said. "It was very embarrassing.

"It's been horrendous. I'm just delighted for the people who have had very, very hard and difficult challenges that this week has got them some reward.

"For those people that love the club, they are finishing the season with a smile on their face and sometimes money just cannot buy that. Hopefully, we can now put things behind us and learn from it."

Lawlor admits the money generated from their Europa League qualification will be of enormous benefit.

"It is vital for us to push on and go to the other level," he added. "It will allow us to sit down in the near future to calculate just where we are and where we want to go."

"It will allow us to develop the club... there are also lots of costs running a football club. But will make our job a bit easier."

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