Glenavon Football Club is a Northern Irish semi-professional football club that competes in the NIFL Premiership. Founded in 1889, the club hails from Lurgan and plays its home matches at Mourneview Park. Club colours are blue and white. Glenavon's bitter rivals are Portadown, with their matches known as the "Mid-Ulster Derby". The club is currently managed by Stephen McDonnell, who succeeded Gary Hamilton after 12 years in the role.

Glenavon
Full nameGlenavon Football Club
Nickname(s)Lurgan Blues, The Mourneview Aces
FoundedNovember 1889; 134 years ago (1889-11)
GroundMourneview Park, Lurgan
County Armagh
Capacity3,200 seated
ChairmanAdrian Teer
ManagerStephen McDonnell
LeagueNIFL Premiership
2022–23NIFL Premiership, 7th of 12
WebsiteClub website
Current season

History edit

Glenavon was the first provincial club to win the Irish League title (1951–52) and also the first provincial club to do the league and cup double (1956–57). The latter triumph also made them the first Northern Irish team to enter the European Cup. Glenavon has had a number of talented and famous players, none more so than Wilbur Cush and Jimmy Jones, who were to the fore in "the glory years" of the Fifties. The success of the 1950s is still the benchmark at the club – the closest the club have come to achieving a league success since came in the 1993–94 season, when but for two late goals in the final match Glenavon would have been crowned champions.

Glenavon enjoyed a good run throughout the 1990s, consistently achieving good placings in the league and winning several cup competitions, including Irish Cup wins in 1991–92 and 1996–97, and were runners-up against Glentoran in the 1995–96 and 1997–98 editions of the cup. The club then suffered a relatively poor spell during the early 2000s, which culminated in relegation to the second tier in the 2003–04 Irish League season. Although they were promoted the following season, Glenavon continued to struggle towards the bottom of the league throughout the remainder of the decade, going through several managers such as Terry Cochrane, Stephen McBride & Marty Quinn. McBride was a Northern Ireland international and a popular Glenavon player in the 1980s & 1990s, but his reign lasted just seven months before he was relieved of his managerial duties with Glenavon at the bottom of the IFA Premiership.[1]

Former Portadown & Glentoran forward Gary Hamilton was appointed player-manager in December 2011, managing to steer the club from relegation in the remainder of the 2011–12 Irish League season. This was followed up by a 9th-place finish in the 2012–13 season. The 2013–14 season was welcomed by many as a successful season, the Lurgan club securing a top-six league finish and a return to winning major silverware with the 2013–14 Irish Cup, in which Glenavon triumphed 2–1 over Ballymena United in the final.

Following on from this cup triumph was a successful 2014–15 season. Though Glenavon did not fare as well in the Irish Cup, exiting at the 6th round to Championship 1 side Harland & Wolff Welders, an excellent late run of 7 consecutive wins saw the Lurgan Blues pip their Mid-Ulster rivals Portadown to a third-placed league finish, therefore sealing European football for the 2015–16 season.

The 2015–16 season would be another good season for the Lurgan Blues, once again securing Europe on the penultimate matchday by finishing third, on a points total of 69. Even more success was to follow, as the club claimed a second Irish Cup win in three years, defeating David Healy's Linfield 2–0 in the final.

Glenavon did not enjoy similar success in the 2016–17 season. Despite having signed former Celtic and Northern Ireland winger Paddy McCourt, the club struggled for form and could only achieve a disappointing 6th-placed finish in the league. Although the club reached the semi-finals of the Mid-Ulster Cup, League Cup and Irish Cup, they were defeated in all by Warrenpoint Town, Carrick Rangers and Coleraine respectively. Glenavon also suffered agonising defeat to Ballymena United in the Europa League playoff final, therefore missing out on a fourth successive year of European qualification.

Despite failure to qualify for Europe and a large exodus of players at the start of the 2017–18 season, the signing of players such as Sammy Clingan and Andrew Mitchell, aligned with the emergence of Bobby Burns, meant that Glenavon had a resurgence in form, finishing third once again, and qualifying for Europe. However, the only piece of silverware attained was the Mid-Ulster Cup, having exited the League Cup and Irish Cup via shock defeats at the hands of Ards and Loughgall.

While the 2018–19 season yielded a club-record points total of 70, the club had a disappointing record in the major cups, falling to defeat against Dergview and Dungannon Swifts in the League Cup and Irish Cup respectively. However, the Lurgan Blues did retain the Mid-Ulster Cup with a 4–3 victory over Warrenpoint Town. Despite attaining another third-place finish, Glenavon fell to a 2–4 defeat against Glentoran in the Europa League playoff semi-final and failed to attain European qualification for the following season.

The club endured a difficult 2019–20 campaign, falling to several heavy defeats in the league and exiting the Irish Cup at the 5th round with a 2–0 defeat against Coleraine. Inconsistent form meant that the club finished outside of the league's top-six for the first time since the 2012–13 season.

The Lurgan Blues' form improved significantly in the 2020–21 season, but the club narrowly missed out on a top-six finish; their final points total of 62 was the highest points tally recorded for a team in the bottom-six. Their seventh-place finish secured the Lurgan Blues a spot in the Europa Conference League playoffs. They faced Larne in the semi-final, losing narrowly to a Martin Donnelly goal in injury time, leaving Glenavon without European qualification.

The 2021–22 season saw the unexpected departure of the previous season's top scorer, Danny Purkis, but Glenavon would once again claim a seventh-place finish and qualification for the Europa Conference League playoffs. They were defeated at the semi-final stage, losing 2-0 against third-placed Glentoran at The Oval. The same opposition had eliminated Glenavon in the Irish League Cup earlier in the season. The Lurgan Blues exited the Irish Cup in controversial fashion, having had two goals disallowed against Crusaders.

On 13 September 2023, it was announced that Gary Hamilton had vacated the post of manager, following a number of poor results at the beginning of the 2023–24 season. U20s manager Gary McAlister took over as caretaker for matches against Carrick Rangers and Crusaders, and on 25 September, former Warrenpoint Town manager Stephen McDonnell was appointed in the role on a permanent basis.[2]

Stadium edit

 
Mourneview Park in 2020.

Since 1895, Glenavon's home stadium has been Mourneview Park, located in the south of Lurgan.

From 1992 to 2011, significant alterations were made to Mourneview Park in order to bring the ground up to a modern standard. Along the side of the pitch runs the Geddis Stand (holds roughly 1700), and on the other side the Glenfield Road Stand (holds roughly 2000), which houses away supporters. Behind one of the goals, the ground has the Crescent End (standing terrace), and at the other end the Hospital End contains a training pitch.

In addition to Glenavon's home matches, the stadium is also a regular host for Northern Ireland under-21 matches, and was the venue for several group stage games in the UEFA Women's Under-19 Euro 2017 finals. Due to the ongoing renovation of Windsor Park, Mourneview Park was chosen as the venue for Linfield's home ties in the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League. The stadium has occasionally been used as a neutral ground for Irish Cup semi-finals, most recently in the 2018–19, 2020–21, and 2021–22 editions of the competition.

In September 2020, Glenavon FC unveiled a new 5m x 2m Digital LED Screen at Mourneview Park, which was supplied by FSL Scoreboards. It is the first of its kind anywhere in Ireland.[3]

On 12 April 2021, it was announced that Mourneview Park would be the host venue for the 2020–21 Irish Cup Final; the first time the final has been staged outside of Belfast since 1975.[4]

Mourneview Park hosted the second leg of the first round tie in the inaugural edition of the Europa Conference League between FK Velež Mostar and Coleraine F.C. on 15 July 2021, due to pitch redevelopments at The Showgrounds. [5]

Prior to the 2023–24 season commencing, the seated area of the Crescent End was returned back to a standing terrace, with the installation of crash barriers manufactured by local company, Dawson Manufacturing & Engineering. [6]

European record edit

Glenavon was the first Northern Irish team to enter the European Cup. In their first tie they drew AGF of Denmark, drawing 0–0 at home and losing 0–3 away.

Glenavon achieved some more notable results in Europe in the 1990s. In the 1992–93 season, they drew both legs of their Cup Winners Cup tie with Royal Antwerp and lost on penalties. In 1995–96 they reached the first round proper of the UEFA Cup (the last Irish League club to do so), and were beaten by Werder Bremen.

Overview edit

Competition Matches W D L GF GA
European Cup
2
0
1
1
0
3
UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa League
20
2
2
16
10
49
European Cup Winners' Cup / UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
10
1
3
6
11
25
UEFA Intertoto Cup
2
0
1
1
1
4
TOTAL
34
3
7
24
22
81

Matches edit

Season Competition Round Opponent Home Away Aggregate
1957–58 European Cup PR   AGF 0–3 0–0 0–3
1960–61 European Cup PR   Wismut Karl Marx Stadt w/o N/A
1961–62 European Cup Winners' Cup PR   Leicester City 1–4 1–3 2–7
1977–78 UEFA Cup 1R   PSV Eindhoven 2–6 0–5 2–11
1979–80 UEFA Cup 1R   Standard Liège 0–1 0–1 0–2
1988–89 European Cup Winners' Cup 1R   AGF 1–4 1–3 2–7
1990–91 UEFA Cup 1R   Bordeaux 0–0 0–2 0–2
1991–92 European Cup Winners' Cup 1R   Ilves 3–2 1–2 4–4 (a)
1992–93 European Cup Winners' Cup 1R   Royal Antwerp 1–1 1–1 2–2 (1–3 p)
1995–96 UEFA Cup PR   FH 0–0 1–0 1–0
1R   Werder Bremen 0–2 0–5 0–7
1997–98 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup QR   Legia Warsaw 1–1 0–4 1–5
2000 UEFA Intertoto Cup 1R   Slaven Belupo 1–1 0–3 1–4
2001–02 UEFA Cup QR   Kilmarnock 0–1 0–1 0–2
2014–15 UEFA Europa League 1QR   FH 0–3 2–3 2–6
2015–16 UEFA Europa League 1QR   Shakhtyor Soligorsk 1–2 0–3 1–5
2016–17 UEFA Europa League 1QR   KR Reykjavik 1–2 0–6 1–8
2018–19 UEFA Europa League 1QR   Molde 2−1 1–5 3–6

UEFA ranking edit

As of 7 May 2023[7]
Rank Team Points
405   Jeunesse Esch 1.000
406   Ballymena United 1.000
407   Glenavon 1.000
408   Mosta 1.000
409   Sirens 1.000

Current squad edit

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
2 DF   NIR Conor Kerr
4 DF   NIR Calum Birney
5 DF   IRL David Toure
6 DF   NIR Mark Haughey
7 MF   NIR Matthew Snoddy
8 MF   NIR Jack Malone
9 FW   IRL Gavin Hodgins (On loan from Shelbourne)
10 FW   NIR Peter Campbell
11 DF   NIR Niall Quinn
13 GK   IRL Mark Byrne
16 MF   NIR Isaac Baird
17 MF   NIR Conor McCloskey
No. Pos. Nation Player
20 MF   NIR Stephen Teggart
21 FW   NIR Aaron Prendergast
23 DF   NIR Danny Wallace
24 MF   NIR Jamie Doran
25 MF   IRL Darren Clarke
28 MF   NIR Robbie Garrett
30 DF   NIR Sean Ward
32 DF   IRL Len O'Sullivan
39 MF   IRL James Doona
41 GK   NIR Josh Gracey
44 GK   NIR Gareth Deane
99 FW   COD Lido Lotefa

Out on loan edit

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
12 DF   NIR Bobby Deane (On loan at Institute until 1st July 2024)
14 MF   NIR Harry Norton (On loan at Dollingstown until 1st July 2024)
15 DF   NIR Harry Lynch (On loan at Dollingstown until 1st July 2024)
18 GK   NIR Marc Matthews (On loan at Knockbreda until 1st July 2024)
33 MF   NIR Odhrán Smyth (On loan at Dollingstown until 1st July 2024)
34 MF   NIR Cohen Henderson (On loan at Annagh United until 1st July 2024)

Non-playing staff edit

Position Staff
Manager Stephen McDonnell
Assistant manager Simon Kelly
First-team coach Mark Rimmington
Goalkeeping coaches Reggie Hillen and Johnny Pollock
First Team Analyst Paul McCrum
U20 Manager Gary McAlister
U20 Coach Chris Chambers
Head of Youth Development Gary McAlister
Child Welfare Officer David Blakely
Head of Medical Chris Loughran
Team Doctor Dr Stephen Best
Team Attendant Stephen Topping
Groundsman David McClure
Chairman Adrian Teer
Vice-Chairman/Treasurer Frazer Follis
Executive Director Leigh McClune
Board of Directors Duncan Campbell
Philip Harrison
George McNally
Eddie Drury
Stevie Campbell
Sharon Kennedy
Brian Odgers
Josh Hall
Andrew White
Match Co-ordinator Stevie Brown
Media Officer Brian Odgers
Administrator/Finance Officer Angela Cherry
Supporters' Liaison Officer Adam Carson

Academy edit

Glenavon's Academy consists of teams at Under 7, Under 8, Under 9, Under 10, Under 11, Under 12, Under 13, Under 14, Under 15, Under 16 and Under 18. There is also an Under 20 development team which comes under the auspices of the Senior Club and plays as Glenavon Reserves.

The Academy was formed in 2007 as a result of the Irish league licensing requirements and then first team manager Colin Malone appointed Gordon Wylie as Academy co-ordinator. Gordon's first task was to bring ex Glenavon legend Stephen McBride back to the club as the Academy head coach.

The Glenavon Academy is now headed by Chris Chambers after previously being led by Alex Denver, Thomas McStravick and Ryan Prentice. The Academy currently has a number of UEFA A Licence and UEFA B Licence coaches.

In recent times the club has introduced various coaching programmes and training camps aimed at increasing the numbers within the Academy. These have included the Glenavon Academy Club Affiliation Programme, Schools Programme, Aces, Girls Football and annual Football Camps at Easter, Summer and Halloween.

Managerial history edit

Honours edit

Senior honours edit

† Won by Glenavon Reserves

Intermediate honours edit

† Won by Glenavon Reserves

Junior honours edit

  • Irish Junior League: 2
    • 1907–08, 1910–11
  • Irish Junior Cup: 1
    • 1897–98
  • Beattie Cup: 1
    • 1929–30†

† Won by Glenavon Reserves

Notes edit

  1. ^ The 1961–62 North-South Cup could not be finished in time. The first round and part of the second round were played in this season, with the rest completed in the 1962–63 season. The Cup started in February 1962 and was completed in May 1963.

References edit

  1. ^ "Glenavon sack McBride and Fraser". BBC Sport. 28 January 2009. Retrieved 28 January 2009.
  2. ^ "Club Announcement".
  3. ^ "Big sign-ing arrives at Mourneview Park!".
  4. ^ "Sadler's Peaky Blinder Irish Cup Final to be staged in Lurgan". IFA.
  5. ^ McNabb, Jonathan (15 June 2021). "Latest News: Bannsiders to Bosnia".
  6. ^ "Latest News: Work Begins on Safe Standing Area in Crescent Stand". 24 July 2023.
  7. ^ UEFA.com. "Member associations – UEFA Coefficients – Club coefficients". Archived from the original on 13 January 2013.

External links edit