Jim Magilton appointed as Cliftonville's first full-time manager

Jim Magilton: 'They say teams reflect the manager - but if that's me then I'm in a f*cking dark place'

Jim Magilton in his former role with Dundalk Credit: Michael P Ryan (ETPhotos)

In a landmark moment for Ireland's oldest football club, Cliftonville FC, Jim Magilton has been appointed as the first full-time manager in its history.

The 54-year-old takes up the reins immediately, preparing the team for the 2023/24 season.

Magilton, speaking about his appointment, said, "It's an honour to be appointed Manager of a great club with such proud traditions.”

He emphasized his excitement to work with the team and build on the success of his predecessor, Paddy McLaughlin.

Magilton, a former Irish League player who made his debut at the tender age of 15, boasts an impressive football resume.

His professional career began with Liverpool, and later included Oxford United, Southampton, Sheffield Wednesday, and Ipswich Town, where he also served as manager from 2006 to 2009.

Internationally, he has 52 caps as a former Northern Ireland captain.

He had a stint as assistant manager for Shamrock Rovers during a particularly successful spell under Michael O’Neill and subsequently managed Melbourne Victory in the Australian A-League.

In 2013, he was appointed Elite Performance Director by the Irish Football Association.

Before joining Cliftonville, Magilton had a noteworthy stint at Dundalk, where he served as the sporting director and interim manager.

In December 2020, he left his role in the Irish Football Association to join Dundalk.

His tenure as an interim manager began in April 2021, following Shane Keegan's departure, and ended in June 2021 with a record of four wins, three draws, and three losses.

His tenure as the sporting director concluded in November 2021, less than a year into his four-year contract.

Paul McKeown, Chairman of Cliftonville, expressed his delight at Magilton's appointment.

He acknowledged the club's need for a new approach and emphasized the importance of a full-time manager overseeing both first team affairs and the overall football structure.

The chairman acknowledged the lengthy recruitment process and said, "I understand the frustration of some of our supporters in the time taken to appoint a new manager."

He further added, "Having played in the English Premier League, made more than 50 international appearances for Northern Ireland and managed Ipswich Town, QPR and others, it’s clear that Jim fits the bill."

Magilton, alongside assistant and former Cliftonville player, coach and boss Gerard Lyttle, will strive to make the upcoming season a successful one for the club and its supporters.

Magilton will be assisted by Gerard Lyttle, a former Cliftonville player.