1985–86 Irish League

The Irish League in season 1985–86 comprised 14 teams, and Linfield won the championship.

Location of the Belfast-based teams in the Irish League 1983-90

League standings

Pos Club P W D L GF GA Pts
1 Linfield 26 20 3 3 59 16 43
2 Coleraine 26 16 3 7 51 31 35
3 Ards 26 12 7 7 37 19 31
4 Glentoran 26 14 3 9 42 26 31
5 Crusaders 26 13 5 8 42 34 31
6 Larne 26 10 8 8 49 34 28
7 Ballymena United 26 10 7 9 43 30 27
8 Cliftonville 26 8 9 9 31 34 25
9 Distillery 26 9 6 11 30 49 24
10 Portadown 26 10 3 13 22 32 23
11 Glenavon 26 5 11 10 26 36 21
12 Bangor 26 6 6 14 31 45 18
13 Newry Town 26 6 5 15 28 59 17
14 Carrick Rangers 26 2 6 18 12 58 10


Belfast's Big Two

Belfast's Big Two, also referred to simply as the Big Two or Bel Classico, is the name given to the Northern Irish association football derby between Belfast clubs, Linfield and Glentoran. The derby is also sometimes referred to as the Belfast derby. They are the two most successful and most supported clubs in Northern Irish Football. They traditionally face each other on Boxing Day each year which usually attracts the largest Irish Premiership attendance of the season. They regularly play each other in the league, and have contested more cup finals together than any other two clubs. They also make up two of the three clubs (along with Cliftonville) that have competed in every season of the Irish League's top flight since its inception in 1890 – neither club ever suffering relegation.

Although Linfield and Glentoran have been the two most successful clubs in the domestic game to date, Linfield has won all three of the current major domestic trophies more than any other club. They have won more than twice as many league titles as their rivals, with Linfield having won 53 league titles to Glentoran's 23. Linfield has also lifted the Irish Cup a record 43 times to Glentoran's 22, and has won the League Cup a record 10 times to Glentoran's seven.

North Belfast derby

The North Belfast derby is the name given to football matches between Cliftonville and Crusaders who play in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The two are separated by around 1.5 miles with Cliftonville based at Solitude on Cliftonville Road and Crusaders at Seaview on the Shore Road.

The rivalry between the two clubs began in 1949 with Crusaders' ascension to senior football. For the majority of years the rivalry was simply competitive and geographical. The rivalry was heightened during The Troubles, and as the religious and political demographics within Belfast changed, Cliftonville began to develop a mainly nationalist following and Crusaders a unionist following. While there have been unsavoury incidents in the past between the clubs and the rivalry is fierce and intense on the pitch, off the pitch they have developed a strong cross-community relationship in recent years.

The two sides have met each other on 293 occasions, and have met in three national cup finals (the 2009 Irish Cup final, 2013 League Cup final and 2014 League Cup final) and one regional cup final (the 1979 County Antrim Shield final). The two sides have also won eleven league titles between them, four of these wins coming in the last four seasons; Cliftonville winning in 2012–13 and 2013–14, and Crusaders winning in 2014–15 and 2015–16.

Both clubs also share rivalries with the Belfast 'Big Two' of Glentoran and Linfield, but the success disparity between the pairs of clubs has seen two distinct rivalries formed.

Tommy Jackson (footballer, born 1946)

Thomas Jackson (born 3 November 1946 in Belfast) is a former Northern Irish footballer, who played as a midfielder for Everton, Nottingham Forest and Manchester United. He also amassed a total of 35 caps for the Northern Ireland national football team. Following his playing career, he went into management, taking charge of various clubs in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Jackson began his professional football career playing for Glentoran. He became a regular in the Glentoran side by the age of 21, and won league-winners' medals in 1967 and 1968 before signing for Everton in February 1968. In just over two seasons with the Toffees, Jackson picked up yet another league-winners' medal in 1970. His performances as understudy to the likes of Alan Ball and Howard Kendall attracted the attention of other clubs and, after just 32 league appearances for Everton, Jackson was signed by Nottingham Forest in October 1970.

Forest were struggling for survival in the First Division, but Jackson still only managed to make 81 appearances, albeit scoring six goals. The arrival of Brian Clough and the emergence of Martin O'Neill saw Jackson's opportunities become even fewer and further between, and he was granted a free transfer in the summer of 1975. He was then signed by Manchester United manager Tommy Docherty with the intention of Jackson captaining the club's reserve team and instilling a level of professionalism in the club, which had just been promoted back into the First Division. However, Jackson made such a good impression that he was rewarded with 17 league starts that season, helping the team to an impressive third-place finish. Nevertheless, he spent the 1976–77 season back in his intended reserve team role before retiring back to Ireland to become the player-manager at Waterford United. There, he led the club to two consecutive FAI Cup finals, winning the competition in 1980.

Despite the FAI Cup win, one trophy in four years was not enough for the Waterford United board, and Jackson was sacked in 1982. It was a whole year before he got another management job, returning to Northern Ireland as manager of Crusaders in July 1983. The team won the Gold Cup in 1986, beating Linfield 2–1 in the final, but Jackson left the club in October that year, before returning to his first club, Glentoran, three months later. In 6½ years at Glentoran, Jackson led the team to 16 major trophies, including the Double in 1988, but the team's form began to dip after their title win in 1992, and Jackson was sacked in July 1993. He then spent a further year in charge of Ballymena United.

Irish League seasons
198586 in European football (UEFA)
Domestic leagues
Domestic cups
League cups
UEFA competitions
Non-UEFA competitions


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