Glenavon Football Club is a semi-professional, Northern Irish football club playing in the NIFL Premiership. The club, founded in 1889, hails from Lurgan and plays its home matches at Mourneview Park. Club colours are blue and white. Gary Hamilton has been player-manager of the Lurgan Blues since December 2011 following the resignation of Marty Quinn. Glenavon's bitter rivals are Portadown, with their matches known as the 'Mid-Ulster Derby'.
|Full name||Glenavon Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||Lurgan Blues, The Mourneview Aces|
|Ground||Mourneview Park, Lurgan|
|Capacity||4,160 (3,200 seated)|
|Manager||Gary Hamilton (player-manager)|
|2018–19||NIFL Premiership, 3rd|
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 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.
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 – the highest achieved by the club since a win became three points in the 1986–87 season. 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, 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-placed 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.
Mourneview Park is now considered to be one of the best grounds in the Irish League. 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 (400 seats, and standing area), and at the other end the Hospital End remains undeveloped.
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 2014–15, 2016–17, and 2018–19 editions of the competition.
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.
|UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa League|
|European Cup Winners' Cup / UEFA Cup Winners' Cup|
|UEFA Intertoto Cup|
|1961–62||European Cup Winners' Cup||PR||1–4||1–3||2–7|
|1988–89||European Cup Winners' Cup||1R||1–4||1–3||2–7|
|1991–92||European Cup Winners' Cup||1R||3–2||1–2||4–4 (a)|
|1992–93||European Cup Winners' Cup||1R||1–1||1–1||2–2 (1–3 p)|
|1997–98||UEFA Cup Winners' Cup||QR||1–1||0–4||1–5|
|2000||UEFA Intertoto Cup||1R||1–1||0–3||1–4|
|2014–15||UEFA Europa League||1QR||0–3||2–3||2–6|
|2015–16||UEFA Europa League||1QR||1–2||0–3||1–5|
|2016–17||UEFA Europa League||1QR||1–2||0–6||1–8|
|2018–19||UEFA Europa League||1QR||2−1||1–5||3–6|
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
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.
- Irish League: 3
- Irish Cup: 7
- Northern Ireland Football League Cup: 1
- City Cup: 5
- 1920–21, 1954–55, 1955–56, 1960–61, 1965–66
- Gold Cup: 4
- 1954–55, 1956–57, 1990–91, 1997–98
- Ulster Cup: 3
- 1954–55, 1958–59, 1962–63
- Floodlit Cup: 2
- 1988–89, 1996–97
- County Antrim Shield: 2
- 1990–91, 1995–96
- Mid-Ulster Cup: 26
- 1897–98, 1901–02, 1904–05, 1906–07, 1908–09, 1910–11, 1924–25, 1925–26, 1930–31, 1932–33, 1937–38, 1947–48†, 1957–58†, 1965–66†, 1971–72†, 1976–77†, 1983–84, 1985–86, 1988–89, 1990–91, 1998–99, 2004–05, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2017-18, 2018-19
- North-South Cup: 1
- Charity Shield: 2
- 1992 (shared), 2016
† Won by Glenavon Reserves
- Irish Intermediate Cup: 3
- 1907–08, 1910–11, 2004–05
- George Wilson Cup: 1
- Bob Radcliffe Cup: 1
† Won by Glenavon Reserves
- Irish Junior League: 2
- 1907–08, 1910–11
- Irish Junior Cup: 1
- Beattie Cup: 1
† Won by Glenavon Reserves
- 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.