It’s match day, it’s new shirt day and it’s an historic day! A game 64 years in the making and thrown into major doubt due to the ongoing Aer Lingus pilot strikes is finally upon us. Much has been made about the history surrounding the tie that never was but today’s the day it finally happens. Despite the length of time since the original tie was due to take place there are still some players from the original 1960 squads alive including Billy Johnston, Sammy Magee Freddy Clarke and Billy Meldrum as well as 4 players from the Wismut Aue team.

The squad and travelling party have been in good spirits despite the long journey to Aue to take on FC Erzgebirge this afternoon. The team trained last night near the hotel and will travel to the Erzgebirgsstadion for today’s game hopeful of a positive result and a great start to preseason preparations. It will also be a chance for everyone to see Glenavon play in their new away kit which was launched only this morning! Those who have travelled to Germany are reminded to get in touch with club director Duncan Campbell to purchase the limited stock we have with us in Germany.

Unfortunately Assistant Manager Simon Kelly and players Calum Birney, Rhys Marshall, Mark Haughey and Niall Quinn were unable to travel with the squad due to a combination of illness and injury. Hopefully we’ll see them back on the training pitch soon!

In preparation for the game our new Chairman Glenn Emerson said “We’re really excited to be here and want to thank FC Erzgebirge for their excellent hospitality so far. They’ve gone above and beyond to make us feel so welcome and it’s great to be part of such an historic occasion for both clubs. We look forward to welcoming them back to Mourneview next year and hope that this will be part of a longstanding friendship that lasts for another 64 years and beyond! I’d also like to thank the fans who have made the journey to Aue for the game today. As we know, a football club is nothing without its loyal supporters and it’ll be amazing to have ours with us in the Ergebirgsstadion. Their patience and understanding during the uncertainty earlier this week is greatly appreciated and hopefully we can repay them.”

He continued, “Personally for me it’s a really positive start to my tenure as Chairman and I hope everyone involved enjoys the experience of travelling with Glenavon and that it’s the first of many European trips we can enjoy with Stephen as manager.”

Manager Stephen McDonnell commented, “It’s been great to get away with the lads and for them to be together in such close quarters. It gives them a taste of the things we want to be come a regular occurrence with Glenavon. I’d also like to thank the travelling fans and hope they can bring a flavour of Mourneview Park’s Crescent End to the Erzgebirgsstadion today!”

Those fans who were unable to make the trip are able to watch the game live on FC Erzgebirge’s YouTube channel by following this link:

https://youtube.com/@fcerzgebirgeaueev?si=JKEgqH14v8BLcLC0