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Cliftonville appoint reserve team boss Michael Press as interim manager following Barry Gray's dismissal

Mon, Jan 21 2019

Gray guided the Reds to an IFA Cup final last year, which they lost 3-1 to Coleraine. Credit: Albert Thompson (ETPhotos)

Cliftonville have installed reserve team coach Michael Press as interim manager following the departure of Barry Gray at the weekend.

Press, who has been manager of Cliftonville Oympic for the past 15 years, will be assisted by existing staff Barry Johnston, Mark Smyth and Damien McCorry.

Gray was removed from his position on Saturday evening following the Reds’ 3-1 defeat to struggling Dungannon Swifts.

Cliftonville sit sixth in the table, four points adrift of Glenavon in fifth, after a run of four defeats in their last five games.

The club also crashed out the IFA Cup in the fifth round following a surprise home defeat at the hands of the Swifts.

The latest defeat to Dungannon proved the final straw for chairman Gerard Lawlor and the club announced shortly afterwards that Gray had departed his role with the club.

“I want to place on record my sincere thanks to Barry for everything he did in his time at Cliftonville,” Lawlor said in a statement.

“He lived and breathed this Club for 20 months and neither his work ethic, dedication nor committment could ever be questioned.

“He led us to an Irish Cup Final last season, oversaw our qualification for the Europa League and actually leaves with a win percentage that compares favourably with any Manager in Cliftonville’s history.

“We had a brief discussion after Saturday’s defeat to Dungannon Swifts and there was no anger or animosity.

“Such is the measure of the man, he actually spoke to me this afternoon because he wanted to make sure that our incoming management team had everything they needed to take training this week.

“He and his Assistant Manager Harry Fay, who has also left the Club, worked tirelessly for Cliftonville and I think it’s only appropriate to acknowledge that and thank them for their considerable effort.”

Lawlor also outlined the process for selection of Gray’s successor, with applications invited for the vacant role up to the end of this week.

“The process to find a new Manager has already started but I can assure our supporters that we are determined to cast the net far and wide and there is no front-runner at this moment in time.

“We are seeking applications, preferably by this coming Friday, January 25, and I would invite anyone interested to make contact with me via email (chairman@cliftonvillefc.net) – with an assurance that all communications will be received in, and treated with, the strictest confidence.

“We will then sit down as a Board next week to review all applicants and will, as ever, seek independent advice and guidance from outside the Club before making our next move in the process.”