Cliftonville boss Barry Gray considering his position as he admits fans want him out

Sun, Jan 06 2019

Gray helped Cliftonville to the Irish Cup final in 2018, where they were beaten by Coleraine. Credit: Albert Thompson (ETPhotos)

Cliftonville manager Barry Gray says he is considering his position after admitting the Reds’ season is effectively over already in January.

The Belfast side were eliminated from the Irish Cup with a 1-0 defeat at home to Dungannon Swifts on Saturday – their fifth straight defeat in all competitions.

The Reds sit sixth in the Premiership as the split approaches, six points clear of Institute below them but a practically unassailable 15 points adrift of league leaders Linfield.

It's a vast change from last season, when the Reds reached the Irish Cup final and qualified for the Europa League, and Gray said he’s aware the majority of fans would be happy to see him go.

Gray’s admission comes just two days after Ronnie McFall tendered his resignation at neighbours Glentoran following a run of ten games without a win.

The former Warrenpoint Town manager took the reins at Solitude in 2017 after Gerard Lyttle left for Sligo Rovers, and Lyttle could be a contender for the job should Gray choose to leave.

"Performance levels have been very poor and I have to take responsibility for that - and I do," said Gray.

"At this point, we have to sit down and make some big decisions and see where we go from here."

"We have to ask serious questions about the reaction, about my position first and foremost - you can see the reaction of the fans at the end of the game, they're clearly not happy - and rightly so.

"I hope [I'm in charge for the Ards game, that's all I can say, but it's a case that the fans, or the vast majority of them, don't want me.

"And there are lots of fans that have been supportive and I thank them for that - the players have backed me at every opportunity.

“It's a results-driven game so it's a case of the next 24 hours, we'll decide what's best for Cliftonville."

He continued: "We need to take grace and see if my workload is enough for what Cliftonville expect and what they should be getting.

"We're effectively in the first week of January and our season is over, we have nothing else to play for so there is certainly a discussion to be had between myself, the board and the players in the next 24 hours to see where we go.

"Listen, I'll be first to say, that nobody can be harder working than what I am and everyone that surrounds me can back me up on that.

"But we have to be realistic, it's football and some things just don't work, no matter how hard you work. We haven't got round that corner and I am at the helm so the can stops with me and I have to take responsibility.