Last United captain to lift Shield hopes history can repeat itself

Graham Fox with his 1980 Co. Antrim Shield winners medal. INBT48-221AC
Graham Fox with his 1980 Co. Antrim Shield winners medal. INBT48-221AC

THE last Ballymena United captain to get his hands on the County Antrim Shield hopes that history can repeat itself for the club’s current crop of players.

Ballymena’s penalty shootout victory over Crusaders in the 1980 decider proved to be the start of a golden era for the club, heralding the arrival of the team of the early Eighties which many observers consider to be the finest in the club’s history.

The man who led that triumph, Graham Fox, would love nothing more than for the same thing to happen again.

“In a way it’s scary to think that it’s such a long time since Ballymena won the Shield,” Graham told told Times Sport.

“I don’t remember too much about the actual match, which ended in a scoreless draw, but as people always say, you remember when you win something.

“It was always thought of as one of the more minor trophies of that time but the Shield itself was a magnificent trophy, although its shape and size meant that people nicknamed it ‘the Binlid’!

“Obviously we didn’t know it at the time but winning the Shield laid the foundation for what was a great period for the club in the next few years under Alan Campbell with Ulster Cups and Irish Cups coming to the Showgrounds.

“Any run of success has to start with winning a trophy of some kind so it would be great if Ballymena could win tonight and it be the start of something bigger.

“Glenn Ferguson seems to be doing a very good job and hopefully he is given the time to turn Ballymena into a successful side.

“I don’t get to watch Ballymena all that regularly – my good friend Don Stirling keeps me well informed on what’s happening at the club – but I’m hoping to get to the Oval to see what will hopefully be the start of something big for the club,” added Graham.