Larne FC chairman shares Facebook memory that highlights club's incredible rise

Photo showing Larne Chairman Gareth Clements
Larne Chairman Gareth Clements -Credit:INPHO/Stephen Hamilton

From battling it out for seventh spot in the Championship, to lifting the Gibson Cup for the second consecutive season, Larne Football Club's dramatic rise through the ranks shows no signs of stopping.

Chairman Gareth Clements has enjoyed the highs and endured the lows during his time at the Inver Park helm. He has watched the club grow on and off the pitch, with a revamped stadium complemented by a team that has delivered in spades.

Larne celebrated back-to-back titles on Saturday. Their final game of the campaign was at home to Coleraine, and they put the Bannsiders to the sword with a 5-0 demolition job.

Read more: Irish League RECAP as Larne crowned champions and Euro play-off spot decided

It is fair to say Larne are in dreamland. This is the vision they have been working towards for seven years, under the ownership and investment of Kenny Bruce.

But it wasn't always like this. Back on this very date six years ago, things were a little bit different, and less jubilant.

Clements shared one of his Facebook Memories from April 27, 2018. In the post, he shared his final Chairman's Remarks from the 2017/18 season, which saw Larne finish seventh in the Championship behind eventual champions Institute.

In it, he says: "After what has been a long season, with plenty of ups and downs, we prepare for the final game on Saturday as we travel to Lurgan Celtic. While we are only playing for the right to finish in 7th place, it’s important for us to go and end the campaign on a high note and I know Tiernan and the players will go out to deliver that.

"Tuesday night’s result away to a Dergview team fighting for their lives was a disappointing one from our point of view. While this season has been all about consolidation and working towards what we want to do next year, we know there are no meaningless games and we want our standard to be high every time we play.

"Next season, there will be expectation on us to go out and win every game. We want there to be a strong winning mentality running throughout the club, from top to bottom and everyone must buy into that, if we are to achieve our goals. Post split it has been difficult with little to play for on paper, but next year there will be no dead rubber games.

"Every week will bring a challenge for us to meet head on. We make no bones about it - we want automatic promotion. And so points, goals for, goals against - everything - will have a real meaning as we set out our stall to bring success to the football club."

Clements also reflected on Larne's final game on a grass pitch at Inver Park, as the diggers prepared to move in to start a major refurbishment of the ground, including a new 3g pitch and floodlights.

He added: "As I finish my last chairman’s remarks for the season, it was a great occasion on Saturday past as we played the last game on grass at Inver Park. A good 3-0 win and a very fitting goal from David Scullion proved to be the last one scored on the turf.

"He has accomplished a lot in his career, but I believe he will look back on that goal also with great pride. The surface itself was in great condition and that is testament to Alan Girvin and others who prepare it meticulously.

"It was great to see the diggers at Inver Park this week, as the work on the new top class surface and floodlights got underway. We will document the updates throughout the summer, and even though the summer break has been well earned, I know for a fact many of us can’t wait to see the new campaign and begin to enjoy the changes that will have taken place.

"Let me take this final opportunity to sincerely thank sponsors and supporters alike for your unwavering and much appreciated support during my first term leading the club through this period of change.

"I trust I haven't let anyone down and I commit to work smarter and even harder next season to ensure we deliver on the success that together we strive to achieve.

"Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much...!"

The post is a reminder of how far Larne have come in such a short space of time. The following season they romped to the Championship title, finishing 17 points ahead of nearest rivals Carrick Rangers.

They would go on to win an incredible FOUR County Antrim Shields on the bounce, but the crowning glory was last year's Premiership title success - the first in their proud 134-year history.

And on Saturday they doubled up on that Gibson Cup win, and who knows what the future holds - and how many more trophies they can lift in the next six years.

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