Belfast Telegraph

World champion boxer Carl Frampton: Crusaders title victory is the one I've craved

By Carl Frampton

Crusaders winning the Premiership this season is just massive, it’s absolutely huge and I’m so proud of all the lads and Stephen Baxter.

I’ve been a fan all my life, went to the games when I was a kid and was there the last time they won the League and it’s been a long time... and there’s been some tough times, so it’s great they’re back on top.

At the start of the season, it was a coin toss between a few teams to see who was going to win the title and if you were to look at the table now, it would look as if it has been easy but it hasn’t been. It’s been a real fight, but in recent games the lads have just been playing great. They’ve been playing as a really good unit — Baxter has done a great job.

I think it’s really great for guys like Coatesy and Chris Morrow. They have been there from the start, some players right from under-age football, and there have been times when other clubs have come sniffing around them and they have stayed loyal to the club so it’s going to mean so much to them — they deserve this because they have worked so long and hard for it.

You have to remember that 10 years ago we were relegated and the die-hard fans were having to go watch them against lesser teams so those fans really deserve credit, they have been there through thick and thin. I haven’t been there as much as I would have liked this season because of how big the fights have become and the long training camps I’ve had to do but I got to a few games and they have played some very good football.

When I was younger and Baxter was playing, fans of the other teams used to shout ‘hoof!’ when we got the ball, that was the reputation and there’s still a bit of that about, but this team can play football.

Gavin Whyte is a very good player and I could see him following Stuart Dallas across the water. Dallas is doing great for Brentford. At the start he was put out on loan but the full-time training has made a big difference and now he looks like a real man and is a big goal threat — and he has a chance of being in the Premier League which is amazing.

I think if Whyte has a good strength and conditioning programme he could compete at that level too.

And Jordan Owens has been amazing this season, it’s like his head is a magnet for the ball.

It used to be a few years back it was all about the Blues and Glens but now that has all changed. The Crues and Cliftonville are playing great, Glenavon and Portadown are playing good stuff and I think the League is really exciting. This season has been one of the best and a lot of people don’t realise just how good this League is.

I just hope now that Stephen Baxter and the boys can start something really special and, with the extra money that comes in from winning the League and playing in Europe, hopefully that will help bring in more good signings and we can go on and win more titles.

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