Fans in focus: Gareth McCullough

Name: Gareth McCullough

Age: 33

How long have you supported Newry? 29 years, since I was four years old.

How did you come about supporting the club?
Family tradition. My late Grandfather was a former Chairman, President and Trustee who helped broker the deal for Pat Jennings to begin his professional career and my Dad has supported Newry for nearly 60 years. It’s in my blood!

Your favourite ever player?
Impossible to pick just one from those I have seen – John Corvan was the first player I remember seeing and being amazed by. Joey Cunningham for his sheer ability on the pitch and his personality off it. The living legend that is Ollie Ralph – Goalscorer supreme and one of the nicest people I have had the fortune to meet. Stuart McClean – a colossus at centre-back and the best defender I have seen in a Newry shirt bar none and Richard Clarke – came to the club as a youngster with potential and left as one of the best midfielders in the country.

Favourite current player?
Every player that pulls on a Newry shirt is an instant favourite and gets my support. The lads currently at the club are arguably the most important bunch to pull on the blue and white stripes.

Best memory supporting the club?
Following the team into Europe in 1999. Never thought I would be watching my club playing a Bundesliga team in European football. Also, winning Division 1 was fantastic and the following season beating Linfield, Cliftonville and Portadown was brilliant. Thousands at The Showgrounds. The three trophies we won in Championship 1 a couple of seasons ago was as enjoyable a season as any however. Also, last season in Intermediate B was great fun.

Funniest moment supporting the club?
There are almost too many to mention. Getting into plenty of heated debates with opposition supporters and players is always a laugh. Jonny Ferns going on his backside at ‘Stute on the pitch is as much of a highlight as any of the away days I’ve been on. Plenty of jokers on the bus!

Favourite ground you’ve visited and why?
Hard to look past Mourneview Park or Stangmore Park. Both are compact grounds where you are close to the action and both are good for a pre-match, half-time and post-match beer too! Mourneview just edges it for me though. However, from a results point of view, our 6-4 win at Dungannon a few years ago was up there with the best. Clarkey celebrating with the fans after the sixth goal was brilliant.

What is it you like most about following Newry?
The fact that it’s my local team and the only team that I can truly genuinely say I have affinity to. I like watching matches on TV or going to Old Trafford for example as much as anyone, but nothing beats going to watch your home town team with your mates, seeing friends playing for the club.

Hopes for the future?
That we continue to progress up the leagues until eventually returning to our rightful place in the Premiership. However, it’s more important that the club continues to be run correctly, the way it is at the minute, and that only those who genuinely care for it are allowed to make decisions.
Also, I hope Graeme Edgar can find out where the net is sooner rather than later too!