A swift kick in the balls

Crusaders 2 Dungannon Swifts 3

Mincing is for steak , not for words- that was total garbage

The second Managers lunch of the Month preceded this match, enjoyable it was too. Rod Nawn took us back to his student days and the class of  ’72 , heady days indeed. Waxing lyrically about players like McPolin, McFarland, Beckett and Fullerton , before waxing lyrically about his beloved BBC. Stephen Baxter told us what a great team he had, how the Co. Antrim Shield had been duly delivered since we last met and what a great bunch of lads he had to work with. Whipped into a frenzy by Mr Baxter , surely the Swifts would be lambs to the sacrificial Seaview altar, that was until Mr Nawn’s BBC colleague Paul Gilmour reminded us that he hadn’t commentated on a Crusaders victory this season.

Team news filtered in, Bell, Black and Morrow out, Magee, Doherty and Rainey in.

Mr Baxter had spent part of the week training with Heart of Midlothian, part of his coaching badge. Hearts team selection policy must have rubbed off, as a Vladimir Romanovesque decision to play the best centre back in the Irish League at left back, against one of the strongest attackers in Adamson, was straight out of the Gorgie self destruct manual.

Adamson’s aerial prowess, coupled with Morgan’s movement caused the Crues backline all sorts of trouble, thankfully Christopher(copyright FDJ) had the sort of day you wish on all returning ex players in front of goal, i.e. the Donkey’s hind quarters and the banjo both remained unscathed.

Doc could and should have put us one up , took an extra touch, when perhaps it wasn’t needed. After that it was really one way traffic , Magowan and Magee were continually out- muscled by Adamson  , it was no surprise that he powered home a header for the Swifts first, and if body language is anything to go by Coatesy wasn’t too enamored being at left back.

One nil down at the break, Manager banned from addressing his troops, it was down to Terry and Charlie to earn their corn.

McMaster was replaced by Morrow, a player with a point to prove . Still one way traffic though, Morgan’s wayward shooting keeping us in the game. McCann replaced a tiring Doherty and Davy Rainey produced his best run of the match, storming round the terracing in a huff after being replaced by Arthurs. Forget extra stewards, it’s a nanny we need for the amount of times the toys come out of the pram. 

The last 20 minutes Crusaders revert to hoofball and it pays off as a mêlée in the box results in Arthurs equalising  with a mishit shot. Hardly had time to celebrate when McIlmoyle lashes Dungannon into the lead again. Panic stations now, Hoofball again, Morrow turns in the box, Penalty, Morrow takes it 2-2 deep in injury time as the ball squirms under Rouse. We’ve stolen a point today. One last attack from the Swifts , McCafferty isn’t closed down , bottom corner , Swift Justice as the three points head down the M1.

Keenan announced as MOTM, surprised , Didn’t command his box , unlike his opposite number and should have been punished by Morgan for an earlier mistake. Morrow confirmed Central midfield as his only position and was my MOTM, Should retain his place after Collins limped off with what looked a nasty hamstring injury.

We’re not out of the title race yet, however, it’s going to take one mighty run of results to pull it off now.  The big wide open spaces of the Oval next up, here’s hoping we go back to 4-4-2 and the best players in their natural positions.

 It’s broken Stephen, let’s refix it!!


Liverpool Legends

The current squad would be easier opposition

Really looking forward to this game with the likes of Phil Neal, Mark Walters, Mike Marsh, Gary Gillespie, John Durnin, Rob Jones and Alan Kennedy already confirmed for The Crusaders Legends opposition. Tickets go on sale from next week .

Fair play to the special efforts committee, I’m sure everyone ( well perhaps bar one) is delighted with their fundraising efforts to date. Keep up the good work team!!!

Blinded by the light

Shining a laser pen in someones face is idiotic at the best of times , the idiots who would do such a thing deserve to feel the full weight of the law. Crusaders were fined £250 for a few cans being thrown onto the pitch on Boxing Day. This is much more serious an issue. A persons sight and possible livelihood was put at jeopardy.  It’s time for the clubs to get  there houses in order and root out these troublemakers. The games image is being damaged. Will the I.F.A. come down hard on Glentoran FC, suspended fines haven’t proved  a successful deterrant, thus far.

On a side note, don’t you think the fat ones features would be better low-lighted , rather than hi-lighted!!

Jeffrey not Uncle Fester

Once a Hatchetman……….

 The recent debate on Irish League supporters forums revolving around the 50/50 tickets being sold at the members gate by a former Linfield supporting member of the S.E.C. and Management Committee  has certainly got the fans talking.

Anyone who frequents the forum will have come to realise that ‘Flatcap’ is agent provocateur numero uno at Crusaders Fc. He’s definitely without equal when it comes to stirring the ‘merde’ down Seaview way. Is he stuck in his ways? Does he have an agenda against the new order down St. Vincent Street? Who Knows ? He certainly appears to be anti change, venting his spleen at the
Stadia change, 4g pitch, ground share, Stadium working groups, S.E.C. amongst others. His ascertation that Crusaders men of  past generations would be turning in their graves at the very thought of a Blueman (albeit ex) on our management committee. His view is that you can’t change teams and your team should be for life. This struck a chord with me.

I’m a fervant supporter of Crusaders Fc, proud of all it’s achievements , forthright in my views and not afraid to give my opinion to anyone that will listen. However, I’ll be the first to admit that i’m not a lifelong supporter of the club.

I first took in a game at Seaview in 1976, a championship winning season for the Hatchetmen, though i wore much different colours to the ones I adorn now , as my loyalties lay with Ballymena United , My Dads hometown team. My heroes were John Sloan, Michael Guy, Gerry Mullan , Brian Crockard, Alan Harrison. Rab McCreery, Jim Platt , Nigel Worthington, Stephen Penney to name but a few.

The troubles were at their height, I went with my dad, If Ballymena were too far away , we took in a game at Seaview, Windsor or the Oval. I just loved football, didn’t matter who was playing back then. I remember a Monkstown Summer scheme trip to Windsor Park back in 1981 and Roy Coyle taking us on a tour of  ‘ The Shrine ‘ .  Before we entered the boardroom and trophy room , he said that you could only enter if you supported Linfield, he was joking of course, but me being a bolshie 11 year old told him to stick his trophy room , as Ballymena had won most of them that year!!

As the years progressed, I started to follow friends to Seaview, hardly glory hunting as Tommy Jackson departed for the Glens  , players like McCoy , Burrows, McGreevy and Byrne moved on also. The team started to struggle under Jackie Hutton , hamstrung by the ridiculous four match amateur rule that seemed to hit Crusaders harder than most teams. My affinity with the Crues started to grow, trips to Warden Street became few and far between, I had a new love affair. New Heroes, Kirk Hunter, Gary Hillis, Brian Jess , Albert Holden, Frankie Caulfield. Still not a died in the wool Hatchetman though, still felt a pull towards the ‘Braid’. We founded the IMCSC , we had a new sense of purpose, or so it felt on an almost revolutionary Saturday evening as John Smedley called us to unite for the greater good.

1987, the marriage was complete, I travelled on the Ian McDonald bus unsure of my loyalties. Ballymena scarf in one pocket, Crusaders scarf in the other, I decided to follow whoever won. Ballymena won 2-1. I was gutted, That sky Blue scarf never made the trip back to Belfast.  No going back now.

Crues News- Melly off to Bangor

Dom rounds Alvin Rouse to equalise at Stangmore

Crusaders midfielder Dominic Melly has moved to championship side Bangor on loan for the rest of the season. Dominic joined in the summer of 2009 from Bangor and made a total of 12 appearances for the hatchetmen (6 as sub) , scoring 1 goal in a 1-1 draw at Dungannon in November. He had been made available to other clubs by Manager Stephen Baxter along with Jamie Marks , earlier this month.