Golden milestone at Grange Rangers

Ballyclare-based amateur football team Grange Rangers are looking forward to celebrating their 50th anniversary when Covid-19 restrictions ease.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 5:36 pm

The south Antrim side, which was formed in 1970, had to curtail any functions last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The respected club, currently managed by David Whyte, is where Kilmarnock manager and former Northern Ireland goalkeeper Tommy Wright started his playing career.

Speaking to the Newtownabbey Times, chairman Ivan Higgins, who has been part of the fabric of the Ballyclare side for around 40 years, said: “A group of guys who met up at the Grange Bar in Ballyclare started to play friendly matches with different sides including soldiers at RAF Aldergrove in the late 1960s. The team was officially founded in 1970 when they joind the Larne and District League. They then moved to the Amateur League in around 1975 and then the Ballymena Junior League, but we have aspirations to get back into the Amateur League.

Cllr Norrie Ramsey presented Grange Rangers chairman Ivan Higgins with a trophy to celebrate the Ballyclare club's 50th anniversary. They are pictured alongside Paul Girvan MP, Steve Aiken MLA, Gary Stitt (Antrim and Newtownabbey Sports Forum) and former Nottingham Forest coach Michael Whitley. Pic by Dave Pettard.
Cllr Norrie Ramsey presented Grange Rangers chairman Ivan Higgins with a trophy to celebrate the Ballyclare club's 50th anniversary. They are pictured alongside Paul Girvan MP, Steve Aiken MLA, Gary Stitt (Antrim and Newtownabbey Sports Forum) and former Nottingham Forest coach Michael Whitley. Pic by Dave Pettard.

“We won the Co Antrim Junior Shield in 1998 and this would be our biggest trophy to date. We had been looking forward to commemorating our big milestone, but due to the coronavirus everything had to be postponed. Tommy Wright started his career at Grange Rangers before moving to Linfield and then over to Newcastle.

“He’s been very supportive to us over the years and hopefully when we can mark our 50th anniversary, Tommy will be able to be our guest of honour.”

Ivan added: “The town has been blessed with having a good footballing culture for many years and we’ve enjoyed friendly relations with our neighbours.

“We have played at Foundry Lane for 50 years and are looking forward to welcoming opposition teams back when things return to somesort of normality.

“Training has resumed now that restrictions have eased and new players are welcome to contact us.

“Anyone wishing to get in touch can contact our manager David Whyte via the club’s Facebook page.”

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Click here to read Parkrun events to return in Newtownabbey this month

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