Causeway Chronicle

Nevin recalls a ‘fan’tastic night 50 years ago

Easter Tuesday 1974 and Coleraine draw 1-1 with Portadown to win the Gibson Cup.

Among the supporters going crazy that night at Shamrock Park was a young Nevin Oliver.

Nevin, now a Club President at the Showgrounds, is well known as having played a major role in saving the club from folding when it hit financial difficulties.

Back then, along with his father Samuel, Nevin boarded one of a fleet of buses and headed for Mid Ulster.

“My vivid memory was arriving at the ground and seeing all the buses and cars carrying the Coleraine fans,” Nevin recalled.

“The feeling was one of euphoria, being part of such a large crowd.

“That then turned to one of nerves and apprehension because we knew what was at stake.

“Portadown were challenging us for the league and went one nil up before Ivan Murray scored the equaliser that secured the point which was enough.”

The Coleraine team was packed with star names.

But one player stood out for Nevin on that memorable evening.

“Lee Clarke,” he says. “He was a bit of an unknown when he joined us but I remember he battled and scrapped for everything.

“In my opinion Lee added an extra dimension to that team.”

After staying in the ground to salute their heroes, the fans headed for the journey home.

“That’s when all hell broke loose,” added Nevin.

“As we were walking back we met the Portadown fans leaving and it’s fair to say the exchanges weren’t friendly!”.

Back in Coleraine it was bedlam.

“I remember going back to Bertie’s bar on the Long Commons.

“It was packed to the rafters but so was every bar in the town that night.”

50 years on – it remains the only championship victory – and we all hope that as lifelong Coleraine supporters, we get to experience that elation once again!

Pictures from Coleraine’s Championship winning season, 1974
Pictures from Coleraine’s Championship winning season, 1974
Pictures from Coleraine’s Championship winning season, 1974
Pictures from Coleraine’s Championship winning season, 1974
Pictures from Coleraine’s Championship winning season, 1974
Pictures from Coleraine’s Championship winning season, 1974
Pictures from Coleraine’s Championship winning season, 1974
Pictures from Coleraine’s Championship winning season, 1974
Pictures from Coleraine’s Championship winning season, 1974
Pictures from Coleraine’s Championship winning season, 1974
Pictures from Coleraine’s Championship winning season, 1974
Pictures from Coleraine’s Championship winning season, 1974
Pictures from Coleraine’s Championship winning season, 1974
Pictures from Coleraine’s Championship winning season, 1974
Pictures from Coleraine’s Championship winning season, 1974
Pictures from Coleraine’s Championship winning season, 1974
Pictures from Coleraine’s Championship winning season, 1974
Pictures from Coleraine’s Championship winning season, 1974
Pictures from Coleraine’s Championship winning season, 1974
Michael Anderson

Michael Anderson