Ambitious gamble by Blues

GLENAVON tried an ambitious gamble in the run up to the 1991 Irish Cup final against Portadown.

They tried to sign former Scotland and World Cup star Roy Aitken, who had played for Glasgow Celtic but at the time was with Newcastle United.

The 32 year old actually signed for Glenavon at Aldergrove airport after a cloak and dagger operation which included the player being kept incognito when he appeared that afternoon at an Irish League game with Linfield.

“We have worked very hard on this and the prospect of Aitken playing in the final has caused a buzz of excitement throughout Irish football,” said Glenavon chairman Bert Megarrell.

So much so, in fact, that queues formed at Mourneview Park on the Monday night when stand tickets for the match went on sale.

“The interest Roy has engendered is phenomenal. It will be a shattering blow if it all turns sour now,” added Mr Megarrell.

However the Aitken deal did not go through and Glenavon went into the 1991 final without the player who was capped 56 times for Scotland.

Nevertheless the final - the first derby final in 67 years - created a huge interest in the town.

And it was another Scottish man who made the headlines as Stevie Cowan grabbed both goals in Portadown’s 2-1 victory. Glenn Ferguson scored for the Blues.

Despite losing the Glenavon fans enjoyed a great day and their support and behaviour was praised.

One fan who contacted the ‘MAIL’ said: “I have to say as a lifelong supporter of Glenavon I was proud to be wearing my blue and white when I watched the majority of our fans remain after the final whistle to applaud and congratulate the Portadown players, as well as console our own deserved players.

“Although we did not bring the cup back to Mourneview in the memory of Wilfie Geddis, I know he would have been proud of his club and supporters.”