Jamie Mulgrew programme article
Posted : 26th December 2018
Linfield captain Jamie Mulgrew is dreaming of a Blue Christmas, as he prepares for his 13th Boxing Day clash in Linfield colours. Speaking to 'Look at Linfield', the midfielder reflected on past memories of the fixture.
"My best memory as a player would probably be 2008, when the odds were stacked against us, as we had a lot of injuries and no one gave us a chance. Aaron Burns made his debut and we won 3-0.
As a fan, I went to a game at the Oval with my Dad and our friends. We could only get in the grandstand which was obviously the Glentoran end. When Linfield scored my Dad jumped up and cheered, and let's just leave it at that. It was a nightmare afterwards!"
"It's obviously the fixture that supporters look forward to the most and it excites everyone. Big crowd, big occasion. There is no getting away from the fact that it is the biggest fixture of the year, even though it still only gets you 3 points. But for players and supporters, it means more than that."
Last Boxing Day was a disappointing one for everyone at the club, as Glentoran won the derby for the first time since 2011 and the Blues captain says they want to put that right this year.
"I think the disappointment of last year was a disaster for everyone connected with the club and that was down to us players, as we have the responsibility of making supporters happy and proud of our club every match day and unfortunately, we didn't do that enough last year. So far this season, we have been able to do that more often than not and hopefully come Boxing day, we can continue that.
Last Boxing day was hard to take, as we were in control of the game but this year we are a better and stronger team and hopefully, we will learn from last year. There is no getting away from the fact that if you don't win on Boxing day, it ruins your Christmas."
The 32 year-old was full of praise for the supporters and says they have helped drive the team on this season and he is glad to see the Kop end opened again.
"Certainly, this year the supporters have been excellent, I think there was a lot of uncertainty at the start of the season, considering how last year went but we have all managed to bounce off each other. Us players have given supporters something to shout about and the supporters have really pushed us on in games which is great as it really helps us. Boxing day I'm sure will be no different than usual, as our supporters always turn up in their numbers and we really appreciate that. The Kop has a long history, the old Windsor Park Kop always provided a great atmosphere and it is no different now."
The long serving midfielder has urged his teammates to kick on and rise to the challenge over this busy festive period, with big games coming thick and fast and believes the timely returns of injured players can help them deal with that.
"The festive period can make or break our season, we have a lot of games this Christmas period - more than usual. We have got to a cup final already which is something for us to look forward to. But we must take one game at a time, as all fixtures in this league are difficult as we have experienced this year. Come the end of this festive period, I would very much hope that we will have kicked on, especially with the players we have coming back into the squad from injury. That will provide that extra bit of competition."
"This season has been positive so far but it is very much early days. What I will say is we have made great strides considering the dark place we were in last year. And at the start of the season I would have taken where we are now. But we must continue to work hard and keep proving people wrong."
Mulgrew finished by leaving a message for the faithful Linfield supporters.
"Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all, let's hope it is a Blue Christmas. Thank you for your continued and loyal support."