Glenavon's European Cup dream finally realised after 64-year wait

A picture of Glenavon captain Jack Malone with the FC Erzgebirge Aue skipper and the match officials
-Credit: (Image: Glenavon FC)

It may have taken 64 years but Glenavon finally realised their dream of facing FC Erzgebirge Aue.

The Cold War had stopped the Lurgan Blues from fulfilling their 1960/61 FC European Cup tie against the German side, who were known as Wismut back then. The Irish league club had been prevented from crossing the Iron Curtain after they were denied visas for East Germany with their opponents were denied entry by the British embassy in Berlin.

After 12 months of planning the tie was finally played on Saturday despite a last-minute hitch for the Mourneview men which saw they have to change flights from Berlin to Frankfurt on Friday due to the ongoing pilots' strike. Whilst Glenavon went down 5-0 on the pitch to the German third division side they were overwhelmed by the hospitality shown to them by their hosts and are planning to repay that when FC Erzgebirge Aue visit Northern Ireland next year.

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"We’ve just arrived back from our trip to Germany," said new Lurgan Blues chairman Glenn Emerson. "On behalf of the club I’d like to thank everyone at FC Erzgebirge for their exceptional hospitality and making us all feel so welcome.

"Their professionalism throughout our visit was greatly appreciated by everyone who was there and we hope to return the favour when they visit us next year. They went above and beyond to make us feel so welcome and it’s great to be part of such an historic occasion for both clubs.

"It was a great experience for Stephen [McDonnell] and the guys to spend time together to work on the things they want to implement for this incoming season and for the new lads to begin settling in. Our focus now turns to the months ahead and seeing what we as a club can achieve this season as we enter a new era for Glenavon Football Club.

"I’d also like to thank the fans who made the journey to Aue for the game. Their patience and understanding during the uncertainty earlier this week was greatly appreciated."

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