photograph of the 2018/19 Danske Bank Premiership SuperFans, alongside Liam Curran, General Manager, Operations at Danske Bank, event host Pete Snodden, Cool FM and Michael Clarke, NI Writers Football Association Secretary.

DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP SUPERFANS HONOURED

Thursday evening saw SuperFans from all Danske Bank Premiership clubs attend a special ceremony at Windsor Park to be recognised for their support and dedication to the game.

Every local club has their share of dedicated fans – the ones who attend every game in rain, hail or snow, the ones who bring their children and their children’s children and create an entirely new fandom right to the ones who do a hundred little things behind the scenes to make our clubs work.

They are the lifeblood of the Danske Bank Premiership.

Each of the Premiership club SuperFans were celebrated during a ceremony held by NI Football League and sponsors Danske Bank at Windsor Park on Thursday evening, a special time to recognise the role supporters play in our clubs and our Premiership.

SuperFan nominations closed on 10 April 2019 with over 300 nominations across all 12 of the 2018/19 Premiership clubs. Winners were selected by an independent panel based on the number of nominations, dedication and the connection to their club. Each winner was also endorsed by their club as a true SuperFan.

The 13 supporters recognised as 'SuperFans' truly reflect the diversity of support within the Irish League and their stories remind us of what makes our league so very special:-

Ards – Sarah and Des Atcheson

A father and daughter duo who are both lifelong fans, Sarah and Des Atcheson have been at the forefront of the Ards Special Efforts Committee for the last decade – a small team of supporters responsible for raising much needed funds for the club and for championing Cancer Focus becoming the club’s charity partner.

Ballymena United – Bertie Morrison

Bertie Morrison has been a loyal supporter since he attended his first match as a 14 year old school boy, on 11 Feb 1953. Since then his love for the team has never waned, he never misses a home game and despite ill health tries to get to as many away matches as he can.

Cliftonville – Eamon Griffin

Eamon Griffin, a dedicated young man, described as a lifetime Cliftonville fanatic! Eamon goes to every home and away game, armed with his team flag and is often spotted watching the reserves and women’s teams during the weeknights.

Coleraine – Deborah Montgomery

Deborah Montgomery goes to every single home and away game, but what makes her so special is her love and commitment in bringing her son and his friend – both are massive fans, with autism and learning difficulties. They have been travelling together to every game for over three years now, and sponsor a player’s shirt in the boys’ names.

Crusaders – William McCord

Billy McCord epitomises everything about the local game. A role model with real conviction, passion and loyalty to his club – from Seaview to Lurgan, Scotland to Slovenia, he wouldn’t miss supporting his team in the most positive way possible. As an older fan, he brings the club together and ensures his traditions and morals continue on, from getting his daughter to knit red and black blankets for half the main stand, to sweets for the kids – he makes going to matches so much fun.

Dungannon Swifts – David Payne

David Payne never misses a game, but also supports his club in so many ways behind the scenes. From helping where he can in organising the gala ball and also helping secure much needed sponsorship for the clubs through his employers the Donnelly Group.

Glenavon – Gareth McCarter

Gareth McCarter is a constant presence in the stand at both home and away games – so much so that friends, family and other fans can’t remember him not supporting Glenavon! Gareth also helps out behind the scenes, helping to manage the live Twitter feed for the club’s online supporters during games. He’s always proud to wear his Glenavon colours when he plays five aside.

Glentoran – Philip Stevenson

From being a supporter of Glentoran since primary school days, to being a ball boy in the early 1980s, Philip Stevenson has also been a member of the 1923 Supporters Club – helping produce the award-winning matchday programme for the past 35 years as a contributor and editor. Since the formation of the Glentoran Legends football team in 2008, Philip has helped organise friendly matches, raising funds for charities and other worthwhile causes. In 2015, he wrote an excellent biography on Glentoran legend John Colrain, with all profits going to the British Heart Foundation. Philip even manages to find time to pour tea for any fan who feels the cold on winter match days!

Institute – Steven Heaney

Known by some as the biggest Institute fan in the world, Steven Heaney goes to see them in the freezing cold and lashing rain. He absolutely loves the club and talks about them all of the time. Steven supports Institute through thick and thin, through promotion and relegation. He even continued to travel to all ‘home’ games in Limavady when the team lost their ground to flooding last season.

Linfield – Jayne Niblock

Jayne Niblock has support Linfield since she was a child, and goes to every single game. As a member of the 1st Belfast Linfield Ladies Supporters Club, she helps out the junior blues by organising mascots and flag bearers at all of the home matches. Jayne is well known and appreciated within the club, and knows most of the club staff and board. When season ends, she hardly knows what to do with herself on a Saturday – just counts down the days until matches restart!

Newry City – Daniel Murphy

Daniel Murphy is always accompanied by his mum, and the pair never miss a match. They are the life and soul of the supporters bus where they always have tea, coffee, sweets, buns and biscuits for all. A truly wonderful family, and Daniel is a true SuperFan who is loved by all at Newry City.

Warrenpoint Town – Marcus Woods

For Marcus Woods, his club has been in his blood from day one, with his late father being a founding member of Warrenpoint Town. As a younger man, he wore blue and white with pride as a player and is now actively involved in the Academy. His generosity knows no bounds and there is now job too small! Marcus can often be seen volunteering as a steward on match days when called upon!

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