|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (March 2011)|
|Full name||Coleraine Football Club|
|Ground||The Showgrounds, Coleraine|
|Capacity||2,496 (safe capacity)|
Coleraine F.C. is a Northern Irish Amateur football club, playing in the NIFL Premiership. The club, founded in 1927, hails from Coleraine, County Londonderry and plays its home matches at the Showgrounds. Club colours are blue and white. Oran Kearney is the manager.
Coleraine is one of the most successful clubs, outside of the "Belfast's Big Two" of Linfield and Glentoran, having won the Irish League title once (in 1973–74) and the Irish Cup on five occasions, most recently in 2002–03. It is also the only Irish League club to have won two successive all-Ireland competitions, lifting the Blaxnit Cup in 1969 and 1970. Their most bitter rivals are Ballymena United.
Coleraine Football Club was founded in June 1927 at a meeting in the local Orange hall. The club was formed out of a merger between two local sides: Coleraine Olympic and Coleraine Alexandra. The original club colours were all white, hence the club's original nickname – the Lilywhites. The new club secured its first trophy in the 1931–32 season, defeating Ballymena United 3–0 at Solitude to win the Gold Cup.
In 1948, Coleraine reached its first Irish Cup final, going down 3–0 to Linfield. 1953 brought another appearance in the final and another defeat, again to Linfield, this time by five goals to nil. The 1950s saw the City Cup won for the first time (1953–54) and a second triumph in the Gold Cup (1958).
In 1961, chairman Jack Doherty persuaded Bertie Peacock to sign for Coleraine after he left Celtic. It would prove to be one of the most important transfers in the club's history. In 1965, Coleraine won the Irish Cup for the first time, defeating Glenavon 2–1 at Windsor Park, with goals from Shaun Dunlop and Derek Irwin. Coleraine thus gained its first experience of European football, against Soviet outfit Dynamo Kiev. Coleraine also won the first two Blaxnit all-Ireland cups in 1969 and 1970. Coleraine faced Kilmarnock in the 1970 Fairs Cup, and after a 1–1 draw in the first leg, the Bannsiders pulled off an historic 3–2 victory thanks to a Des Dickson hat-trick.
In 1972, the Irish Cup was won again, this time by beating Portadown 2–1, with goals from Des Dickson and Ivan Murray. The Holy Grail of the Gibson Cup was finally captured in 1974. Under the management of Bertie Peacock, the squad consisting of the likes of Des Dickson, Johnny McCurdy, Ivan Murray, Michael Guy and Vince Magee clinched the title ahead of Portadown. Bertie Peacock resigned in 1974 and Ivan Murray and Johnny McCurdy took over the reins. Murray continued as manager until 1978 and during his spell in charge the Irish Cup was won twice more – both times against Linfield. In 1975, it took three games before a goal from Jim "Chang" Smith in the second replay proved decisive. The 1977 victory was more emphatic with Liam Beckett, Des Dickson, Frankie Moffatt and Michael Guy scoring to give Coleraine a 4–1 victory. It was to be the club's last major trophy for 26 years.
In the 1980s there were two more cup finals, in 1982 and 1986, ending in defeats to Linfield and Glentoran respectively. For three seasons in a row in the mid-1980s the club finished second in the league behind Linfield, but in the first part of the 1990s Coleraine struggled. In 1995 they dropped into the First Division. Under Kenny Shiels, Coleraine won the inaugural First Division title and in its first season back in the top flight, won the Ulster Cup and came agonisingly close to the title, being pipped late on by Crusaders.
After a poor start to the 1999–2000 season, Shiels resigned and was replaced by Marty Quinn, who rallied the team to finish second in the league behind Linfield and reach the Irish Cup semi-finals and the Coca-Cola Cup final. The next 2 seasons saw Coleraine finish fourth both times – potential title challenges being ruined by inconsistency. In 2002–03, Coleraine ended the season in third place and reached their first Irish Cup Final since 1986. In the final, they faced Glentoran as massive underdogs as the east Belfast side were looking to complete a clean sweep of trophies. After an early strike from Gareth McAuley was harshly ruled out, Coleraine kept going and scored through Jody Tolan. Despite increasing Glentoran pressure, Coleraine held on and the trophy famine was over. The following season saw the club reach the Irish Cup final again, but this time it was Glentoran who emerged triumphant.
The club's well-publicised financial problems had already overshadowed much of the 2003–04 season (despite a substantial donation from Cold Feet actor and Coleraine fan James Nesbitt) and at its end the club was forced to operate on a reduced budget, with several top players leaving. Despite this a top six finish was still achieved. The summer of 2005 saw more budget cuts and several big names leaving the Showgrounds, but this time the main concern for fans was the very future of the club. In August, the Inland Revenue filed for a winding-up order against Coleraine due to debts of £1.3 million. The Friends of Coleraine, worked tirelessly to persuade the High Court to postpone the hearing to allow them to put together a business plan to show that the club could be viably run. Eventually the court ruled in the club’s favour and they were allowed to enter administration and a steering committee was set up to run the club.
The club went on to defeat Institute to win the North West Senior Cup for the 17th time. Premier League survival was ensured on the pitch and in June 2006, the Friends of Coleraine formally took control of the club and appointed a new board. In 2008 the club reached the Irish Cup final, but lost 2–1 to Linfield. Manager Marty Quinn resigned after that game and his successor, former assistant David Platt, led Coleraine to a fifth place finish in his first season in charge.
On the 27th March 2010, Coleraine narrowly lost on penalties against Glentoran in the final of the Co-Operative Insurance Cup. They also lost out to Linfield in the semi-finals of the Irish Cup. Despite possessing the two top goalscorers in the league, including 41 goal Rory Patterson, Coleraine could only finish the season in seventh. Despite the arrival of much-travelled English striker Leon Knight, inconsistent form throughout the first half of the 2010/11 season resulted in manager David Platt being sacked at the start of February. His replacement, Oran Kearney revitalised a struggling team and they climbed the table rapidly, again ending up seventh.
An overhaul of the squad over the summer saw Kearney put his mark on the club and the improvement shown in his first four months in charge has continued, with Coleraine performing well in the league and reaching the final of the IRN-BRU League Cup.
In 2012/2013 Coleraine finished the season in 6th place after making the split 5 games previously.
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Notable former players
- Marty Quinn (Oct 1999–May 08)
- David Platt (July 2008–Feb 11)
- Aidy McLaughlin (interim) (Jan 30, 2011–Feb 5, 2011)
- Oran Kearney (Feb 5, 2011–)
- President: Andy Magowan
- Chairman: Colin McKendry
- Vice Chairman: Hugh Wade
- Treasurer: Sam Turtle
- Secretary: Dessie Brown
- Chaplain: Rev Robert McMullan
- Manager: Oran Kearney
- Assistant Manager: Trevor McKendry
- First Team Coach: Wesley Gregg
- Irish League: 1
- Irish Cup: 5
- 1964–65, 1971–72, 1974–75, 1976–77, 2002–03
- Irish League Cup: 1
- City Cup: 2
- 1953–54, 1968–69
- Gold Cup: 4
- 1932, 1958, 1969, 1975
- Ulster Cup: 7
- 1965–66, 1968–69, 1969–70, 1972–73, 1975–76, 1985–86, 1996–97
- Top Four Cup
- Irish League First Division: 1
- Blaxnit Cup: 2
- 1968–69, 1969–70
- Irish News Cup: 1
- North West Senior Cup: 21
- 1952–53†, 1954–55, 1955–56, 1957–58, 1958–59, 1960–61, 1964–65, 1967–68, 1980–81, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1987–88, 1988–89, 1991–92, 1994–95, 2001–02, 2003–04 2005–06, 2007–08, 2009–10, 2012–13
† Won by Coleraine Reserves
- Irish Intermediate Cup: 2
- 1964–65†, 1968–69†
- George Wilson Cup: 4
- 1954–55†, 1985–86†, 1991–92†, 1995–96†
- Craig Memorial Cup: 3
- 1984–85†, 1986–87†, 2013-14†
† Won by Coleraine Reserves