On this May 21 date 15 years ago Linfield won the Setanta Cup final defeating Shelbourne 2-0 in Dublin.
As part of the build up to the As Live re run broadcast of the Eir sport / Setanta footage of the historic game on Official Linfield Facebook on Saturday, Linfield official media is sharing players’ memories on home video of the Setanta Cup Final.
Below, Linfield health and safety officer Gary Steele shares his recollections of the build up to the game and the day itself.
“After qualifying for the Setanta Cup Final Jim Kerr, (the late) Derek Brooks, (the late) Ivan Foster MBE and Gary Steele travelled to Dublin to meet the Tournament organisers, Garda and Shelbourne representatives to discuss the staging of the Final. All present were very keen to have an enjoyable spectacle which we could all be proud of. The Garda Commander was exceptionally keen that the travelling Linfield supporters should be made welcome whilst ensuring that the match took place safely. We came up with a plan which ensured that the Garda female officers were the first point of contact, the Ticket check, in a welcoming manner followed by a search and Linfield stewards taking the lead in managing our side of the ground.
Linfield would publicise the arrangements widely and ask for our fans to cooperate with Police and stewards instructions.
On the day of the game the Garda invited Gary Steele to attend their pre match brief to ensure that both sides were in harmony and also to have a meal with the officers on duty to ensure good relationships. The Police Commander and I observed the welcome line, the searches and entrancing to ensure all was going to plan.
The match from a security point of view was an absolute text book operation with the Garda girls putting our spectators at ease, as they approached the search, an efficient search and speedy entrance to the ground.
Inside, the authorities dealt quickly and efficiently with some known supporters who had gained entry to the home side of the ground.
The Linfield supporters played their part by joining in the revelry of the day, most of whom had been in local bars watching the FA Cup Final before our match, and celebrating a fantastic team display by the Blues.
Linfield supporters were highly praised by the Garda which was totally deserved. It proved that the pre match preparations really can pay off.
I am looking forward to watching the game on Linfield official media as I missed most of it on that Saturday night.”