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Linfield
Linfield.png
Full name Linfield Football and Athletic Club
Nickname(s) "The Blues"
Founded 1886
Ground Windsor Park, Belfast
(Capacity: 18,000)
Chairman Jim Kerr
Manager David Jeffrey
League IFA Premiership
2008-09 2nd
Home colours
Away colours

Linfield F.C. (full name Linfield Football & Athletic Club), is a is a Northern Irish football club, whose home ground is Windsor Park in Belfast, which is also the home of the Northern Ireland international Football Team. Linfield play in the IFA Premiership (still popularly referred to as The Irish League)[1] the second oldest national league in the world after the Football League in England. Linfield have won the League title a record 48 times, were the first Champions of the League in the 1890-1891 season and are one of four clubs, the others being Cliftonville, Glentoran and Lisburn Distillery, who have retained membership of the League since its formation in 1890.

Contents

History

Founded in March 1886 in South Belfast by workers of the Linfield Spinning Mill, the team was originally known as the Linfield Athletic Club and played on ground at the back of the mill known as 'The Meadow.'

Linfield moved to Ulsterville Avenue in 1889. After the purchase of a piece of land known as the 'bog meadows' just off lower Windsor Avenue in 1904, they settled in what has become the permanent home of Linfield FC., Windsor Park. The first game at Windsor was played against Glentoran, the other half of Belfast's "Big Two," on September 2, 1905 - though Belfast Celtic were the clubs main rivals at the time.

Windsor Park

Linfield's home ground is Windsor Park, which is located in south Belfast. The governing body of Northern Irish football, the Irish Football Association, leases the ground for use by the Northern Ireland national football team. The club currently receives 15% of Northern Ireland international gate receipts. However due to capacity concerns, the IFA no longer consider Windsor Park a suitable international venue, and are currently trying to break the contract negotiated in the 1980s.[citation needed]

In 2009, plans were dropped for the National stadium at the former Maze prison, and plans were drawn up by Linfield for long and short-term fixes for Windsor Park, involving the building of new South and Railway stands at a cost of £3million, with capacity unchanged.

Another proposal would be to bring capacity up to 20,000 with both new Railway and South stands, renovation work to the current North Stand, and minor upgrades to the existing Kop Stand, new floodlights, and a new pitch, at a cost of just under £20million

The latter proposal has been recommended by the Irish Football Association, who will be asking Linfield F.C. to renegotiate their lease contract regarding the use of Windsor Park for International football and major local cup finals, which still has 87 years to run.

European record

As the province's most dominant club side, Linfield have been regular campaigners in European football. Their most notable achievement was reaching the quarter-finals of the European Cup in the 1966-1967 season. After beating FC Aris Bonnevoie of Luxembourg and Valerenga of Norway, they faced CSKA Sofia in the last eight. This resulted in a 2-2 draw at home and 1-0 defeat away.

In the 1984-85 season, after overcoming Shamrock Rovers on away goals, Linfield faced eventual semi-finalists Panathinaikos in the second round. After a 2-1 defeat away, Linfield went 3-0 up in the return leg at Windsor Park only to draw 3-3.

In the 1987-88 campaign Linfield's home game against Lillestrom was marred by missile throwing, resulting in UEFA sanctions which meant that the club had to play their next two home games in European competitions at Welsh club Wrexham in the 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons.

The 1993–94 UEFA Champions League saw Linfield drawn with Dynamo Tbilisi of Georgia. After losing 3-2 on aggregate, they were reinstated when their opponents were expelled from the competition for alleged match fixing and paying the officials. Linfield faced FC Copenhagen in the first round proper. They won the first leg 3-0, and lost the second leg 4-0 after extra time. This proved costly, as victory would have meant a lucrative financial tie against eventual champions AC Milan in the next round.

Success

The team has a highly successful playing record in domestic football, winning the Premiership title 48 times (the 48th time on the 26 April 2008). They have also won the Irish Cup a record 39 times. In 2005-2006 they won a domestic clean sweep winning all four trophies available in the Irish league, the Gibson Cup (Irish League championship), the Irish Cup, the Irish Football League Cup, and the County Antrim Shield. This was the third time Linfield have achieved a domestic clean sweep, winning it in the 1921/22 and 1961/62 seasons.[citation needed]

They won the double in 2006 and added a second consecutive 'double' in 2007, the first team to achieve this feat in over seventy years, and followed that with a third successive double (and 20th overall) in 2008, something that had not been achieved in 115 years.[citation needed]

In 2005, Linfield won the inaugural Setanta Cup, a competition between the top teams of both the Republic of Ireland's and Northern Ireland's Premier Leagues when they beat strong favourites Shelbourne 2-0 in Dublin. However, they failed to produce the same result in the tournament the following year, losing 1-0 to eventual winners, Drogheda United, at the semi-final stage. In 2006/07 they topped their group for the third successive season, becoming the only side to progress beyond the group stages in every year of the competition, and reached the final where they were again defeated by Drogheda United, this time on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw.[citation needed]

Sectarianism

The management of Linfield has spent recent years attempting to overcome a perception in Northern Ireland's Catholic community that the club is closely identified with the Protestant community,[2] and has long suffered from endemic sectarianism.[3]. This sectarian reputation is partly the result of the actions of fans who have a history of anti-Catholic behaviour ranging from sectarian chanting on the terraces to outright violence.[4] It is also partly the result of a historical unofficial policy of not signing Catholic players [5], and an insignificant number of local Catholics playing for the club since the start of the Troubles.[6] The problem is further exacerbated by Windsor Park's location in a part of Belfast that is hostile to Catholics.[7]

Honours

Senior honours

  • Irish League/Irish Premier League: 48
    • 1890/91, 1891/92, 1892/93, 1894/95, 1897/98, 1901/02, 1903/04, 1906/07, 1907/08, 1908/09, 1910/11, 1913/14, 1921/22, 1922/23, 1929/30, 1931/32, 1933/34, 1934/35, 1948/49, 1949/50, 1953/54, 1954/55, 1955/56, 1958/59, 1959/60, 1960/61, 1961/62, 1965/66, 1968/69, 1970/71, 1974/75, 1977/78, 1978/79, 1979/80, 1981/82, 1982/83, 1983/84, 1984/85, 1985/86, 1986/87, 1988/89, 1992/93, 1993/94, 1999/00, 2000/01, 2003/04, 2005/06, 2006/07, 2007/08
  • Belfast & District League: 2
    • 1915/16, 1917/18
  • Northern Regional league: 3
    • 1942/43, 1944/45, 1945/46
  • Irish Cup: 39
    • 1890/91, 1891/92, 1892/93, 1894/95, 1897/98, 1898/99, 1901/02, 1903/04, 1911/12, 1912/13, 1914/15, 1915/16, 1918/19, 1921/22, 1922/23, 1929/30, 1930/31, 1933/34, 1935/36, 1938/39, 1941/42, 1944/45, 1945/46, 1947/48, 1949/50, 1952/53, 1959/60, 1961/62, 1962/63, 1969/70, 1977/78, 1979/80, 1981/82, 1993/94, 1994/95, 2001/02, 2005/06, 2006/07, 2007/08
  • Belfast Charity Cup: 21
    • 1890/91, 1891/92, 1892/93, 1893/94, 1894/95, 1898/99, 1902/03, 1904/05, 1912/13, 1913/14, 1914/15, 1916/17, 1917/18, 1918/19, 1921/22, 1926/27, 1927/28, 1929/30, 1932/33, 1933/34, 1934/35, 1935/36, 1937/38
  • Irish League Cup: 9
    • 1986/87, 1991/92, 1993/94, 1997/98, 1998/99, 1999/00, 2001/02, 2005/06, 2007/08
  • County Antrim Shield: 43
    • 1898/99, 1903/04, 1905/06, 1906/07, 1907/08, 1912/13, 1913/14, 1916/17, 1921/22, 1922/23, 1927/28, 1928/29, 1929/30, 1931/32, 1932/33, 1933/34, 1934/35, 1937/38, 1941/42, 1946/47, 1948/49†, 1952/53, 1954/55, 1957/58, 1958/59, 1960/61, 1961/62, 1962/63, 1965/66, 1966/67, 1972/73, 1976/77, 1980/81, 1981/82, 1982/83, 1983/84, 1994/95, 1997/98, 2000/01, 2003/04, 2004/05, 2005/06
  • City Cup: 24
    • 1894/95,1895/96, 1897/98, 1899/00, 1900/01, 1901/02, 1902/03, 1903/04, 1907/08, 1909/10, 1919/20 1921/22, 1926/27, 1928/29, 1935/36, 1937/38, 1949/50, 1951/52, 1957/58, 1958/59, 961/62, 1963/64, 1967/68, 1973/74
  • Gold Cup: 33
    • 1915/16, 1920/21, 1921/22, 1923/24, 1926/27, 1927/28, 1928/29, 1930/31, 1935/36, 1936/37, 1942/43, 1946/47, 1948/49, 1949/50, 1950/51, 1955/56, 1957/58, 1959/60, 1961/62, 1963/64, 1965/66, 1967/68, 1968/69, 1970/71, 1971/72, 1979/80, 1981/82, 1983/84, 1984/85, 1987/88, 1988/89, 1989/90, 1996/97
  • Ulster Cup: 15
    • 1948/49, 1955/56, 1956/57, 1959/60, 1961/62, 1964/65, 1967/68, 1970/71, 1971/72, 1974/75, 1977/78, 1978/79, 1979/80, 1984/85, 1992/93
  • Floodlit Cup: 2
    • 1993/94, 1997/98
  • North-South Cup: 1
    • 1961/62
  • Blaxnit Cup: 1
    • 1970/71
  • Tyler Cup: 1
    • 1980/81
  • Setanta Cup: 1
    • 2005
  • Top Four Trophy: 1
    • 1961/62
  • Alhambra Cup: 1
    • 1921/22

Intermediate honours

  • Irish League B Division/B Division Section 2/Reserve League: 18
    • 1951/52†, 1952/53†, 1975/76†, 1977/78†, 1978/79†, 1979/80†, 1982/83†, 1983/84†, 1984/85†, 1987/88†, 1988/89†, 1990/91†, 1991/92†, 1998/99†, 1999/00†, 2003/04†, 2004/05†, 2008/09†
  • Irish Intermediate Cup: 13
    • 1897/98†, 1899/00†, 1901/02†, 1922/23‡, 1925/26‡, 1929/30†, 1946/47†, 1949/50†, 1956/57†, 1957/58†, 1971/72†, 2001/02†, 2003/04†
  • Steel & Sons Cup: 9
    • 1895/96†, 1898/99†, 1915/16†, 1939/40†, 1946/47†, 1948/49†, 1972/73†, 1983/84†, 1997/98†
  • George Wilson Cup: 8
    • 1953/54†, 1961/62†, 1976/77†, 1980/81†, 1983/84†, 1984/85†, 1988/89†, 1998/99†

† Won by Linfield Swifts (reserve team)

‡ Won by Linfield Rangers (reserve team)

Junior honours

  • Irish Junior Cup: 3
    • 1890/91†, 1893/94‡, 1905/06ƒ
  • County Antrim Junior Shield: 2
    • 1904/05ƒ, 1914/15#

† Won by Linfield II (reserve team)

‡ Won by Linfield Swifts (reserve team)

ƒ Won by Linfield Pirates (reserve team)

# Won by Linfield Rangers (reserve team)

Current squad

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

No. Position Player
1 Northern Ireland GK Alan Blayney
2 Northern Ireland DF Steven Douglas
3 Northern Ireland DF Jonathan Harkness
4 Northern Ireland MF Michael Gault
5 Northern Ireland DF William Murphy
6 Northern Ireland MF Conor Hagan
7 Northern Ireland MF Damien Curran
8 Northern Ireland MF Philip Lowry
9 Northern Ireland FW Peter Thompson
10 Northern Ireland FW Michael Carvill
11 Northern Ireland DF Noel Bailie (captain)
12 Northern Ireland DF Billy Joe Burns
13 Northern Ireland DF Kris Lindsay
No. Position Player
14 Northern Ireland DF Aaron Burns
15 Northern Ireland FW Mark Miskimmin
16 Northern Ireland MF Aidan O'Kane
17 Northern Ireland FW Curtis Allen
18 Northern Ireland GK Stuart Addis
19 Northern Ireland MF Jamie Tomelty
20 Northern Ireland MF Robert Garrett
21 Northern Ireland DF James Ervin
22 Northern Ireland MF Jamie Mulgrew
23 Northern Ireland FW Paul Munster
25 Northern Ireland FW Mark McAllister
27 Northern Ireland DF John Paul Gallagher
  • Peter Thompson is on loan from Stockport County F.C.
A public mural in Belfast depicting Linfield's contribution to the Northern Ireland football team, featuring Tommy Dickson, Joe Bambrick and Elisha Scott

References

  1. ^ "NI Football". http://www.nifootball.co.uk/division/table/irish/IFA-Premiership.html. Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  2. ^ Armstrong, Gary; Giulianotti, Richard (2001). Fear and loathing in world football. Berg Publishers. p. 47. ISBN 1859734634, 9781859734636. 
  3. ^ McGurk, Tom (2002-08-25), "Sectarian roots blight soccer", Sunday Business Post, http://archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/2002/08/25/story130620628.asp, retrieved 2009-09-24 
  4. ^ Sugden, John; Harvie, Scott (1995). "Sport and Community Relations in Northern Ireland". http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/csc/reports/sugdenharvie/sugdenharvie95-1.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
  5. ^ McKay, Jim; Messner, Michael A.; Donald F., Sabo (2000). Masculinities, gender relations, and sport. SAGE. p. 185. ISBN 076191272X, 9780761912729. 
  6. ^ Sugden, John; Bairner, Alan (1995). Sport, sectarianism and society in a divided Ireland. Continuum International Publishing Group. pp. 78–79. ISBN 0718500180, 9780718500184. 
  7. ^ Sugden, John; Bairner, Alan (1995). Sport, sectarianism and society in a divided Ireland. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 78. ISBN 0718500180, 9780718500184. 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/irish/8475748.stm

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