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Special anniversary drives Linfield to glory

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Peter Thompson

Peter Thompson

©INPHO/Presseye/William Cherry

Peter Thompson

Such are the high demands at Linfield that pressure is a word that’s mentioned with great regularity around Windsor Park.

When you’re part of the most successful club in any country what has gone on in the past dictates the expectations of the present and the aspirations for the future.

This season, however, the pressure on the current Linfield squad is coming from an unusual source.

Not the manager, not the fans, instead it’s the calendar that has pushed up the expectation level.

Landing the 50th league title in the club’s history is a big aim and everyone connected with Linfield wants it now, as the club marks it’s 125th anniversary.

And they are so close to getting what they want, as four points from the final three league games of the season will put the destination of the Gibson Cup beyond doubt.

“The club’s 125th anniversary is a big part of this season and it’s been talked about a lot since the turn of the year,” said Thompson.

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“It is nice to be a part of the club in a special year, but ultimately we don’t want to be a team that ends up empty handed in a landmark season.

“There is pressure on us to make sure we don’t let the club down.

“It doesn’t matter what year it is at Linfield though. The target is always to achieve more.”

And even when the league is wrapped up the Linfield attitude of always wanting more will kick in, with an Irish Cup final date

against Crusaders on Saturday week, when a fifth double in six season will be the target.

Thompson has played an integral role when league and cup victories have been combined in 2006, 2007, 2008 and last season and having been a Stockport County player when the Blues finished empty handed two seasons ago, his Linfield career has been a tale of success.

It was a different story during 18-months with Stockport as he was largely employed as a lone-striker and wins as well as goals were hard to come by.

“Since I came back on-loan in January last year I’ve enjoyed my football and enjoyed being part of a winning team again,” said Thompson.

“It was hard seeing Stockport slip down League One and I think anyone who questioned if it was a wise decision, when I came back permanently last summer, can see now that it was.

“Now they are looking very much like they are going to be relegated from League Two — a second successive relegation — which would have been hard to take and I feel for the fans.”

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Coleraine manager Oran Kearney last night confirmed that veteran goalkeeper David O’Hare will leave the club at the end of the season.

O’Hare, who recently turned 39, has played almost 550 games during two spells with the Bannsiders and will turn out for the club for the last time in next Saturday’s closing league game against Newry City.


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