Matthew Tipton celebrates Portadown promotion goal after 121 weeks and turns focus to future tests now back in Premiership

Having had to wait 121 weeks to accomplish his first key goal as Portadown manager, Matthew Tipton is counting down the days to kick off a first Danske Bank Premiership season.

Portadown manager Matthew Tipton.
Portadown manager Matthew Tipton.
Portadown manager Matthew Tipton.

The former Ports striker stepped down a division from his role with Warrenpoint Town in February 2018 with the initial ambition of steering the Shamrock Park outfit back out of the Bluefin Sport Championship and back on to the senior stage.

Events on and off the field forced a delay to celebrating that achievement until this week - and now Tipton wants to hit the ground running towards preparations for the return of the four-time top-flight champions to the top table.

“The coronavirus pandemic has been something unprecedented and the loss of life overshadows any sporting situation of course,” said Tipton. “But to have that confirmation from NIFL of our promotion at last is certainly a nice moment for everyone connected to the club, people who have worked so hard over recent years and fans who have been so loyal and supportive.

“Although I will admit I was a bit emotional in that moment everything was confirmed, overall I was able to stay quite calm in the whole waiting period as I accepted what we had been told by NIFL, that our Championship season was over and we would be going up.

“But I appreciate for the fans and people around the club there was maybe that nagging sense of uncertainty until the final decision was announced.

“It’s also great to see Annagh United, another team from the town, promoted out of the Premier Intermediate League.

“I was calm, too, because I joined Portadown to get the club back up to the Premiership but only as a first step on our list of things we want to achieve, not the main objective.

“Now the biggest frustration for me personally as a manager will be waiting to hear when next season is going to start.

“In terms of retaining our current squad, we have held talks and will probably be in a position to make some announcements over contracts across the next few days.

“We want to sort out our own players as a priority ahead of looking at recruitment.

“I’ve a lot of faith in this squad and how we have gone about our business this season to get into the position of securing promotion.

“I did read one comment during the campaign which described us as not the best team in the Championship but the most consistent.

“Last season we could, on our day, go out and really put teams away but, ultimately, lacked consistency.

“This season, I look at a league table we led for the vast majority of the season and with Portadown as having the most wins, fewest defeats, most goals scored and fewest goals conceded so count that consistency as vital to our progress and something we can use as a platform moving forward into the Premiership.”


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