Ards F.C.

Association football club in Northern Ireland

Football club
Full nameArds Football Club
Nickname(s)Red & Blue Army
Founded1900; 124 years ago (1900)
GroundClandeboye Park, Bangor
County Down
Capacity2,000 (500 seated)
ChairmanWarren Patton
ManagerJohn Bailie
LeagueNIFL Championship
2023–24NIFL Championship, 10th of 12
Home colours
Away colours
Current season

Ards Football Club is a semi-professional, Northern Irish football club playing in NIFL Championship. The club is based in Newtownards, but plays its home matches at Clandeboye Park in Bangor, which it rents from rivals Bangor to play home games. The club colours are red and blue.


Castlereagh Park

Ards were forced to sell their Castlereagh Park home in 1998 to try to reduce their crippling debts. The stadium remained well tended for another three years while ambitious plans for a new ground further down the road were developed. In 2002 Castlereagh Park was demolished, as planned. Ards hoped to play at a new community-owned site, a stone's throw from Castlereagh Park that was due to be developed in 2010 by the local council. This plan has since been shelved, and they are still the nomads of Northern Irish football. During the time since Ards left Castlereagh Park, they have shared football grounds at Cliftonville's Solitude and Carrick Rangers' Taylors Avenue, their rivals Bangor's ground, Clandeboye Park and Ballyclare Comrades' ground, Dixon Park.

First top-flight return: 2013–14

For the 2012–13 season they played their home games at Clandeboye Park and were promoted to the NIFL Premiership for the 2013–14 season and went straight back down that season..Ards 2014–15 season was a season of change, with many players coming and going from the club and the season ultimately ended in disappointment with them finishing 3rd. The 2015–16 was a better one with Ards reaching the league cup final by knocking out premiership sides Ballinamallard United and Coleraine before losing 3–0 in the final to Cliftonville at Solitude. Ards kept a comfortable hold at the top of the table before becoming league champions on the last day of the season beating Loughgall to secure their promotion back to the Premiership after a two-year absence.

Second top-flight return: 2016–17

Amidst proposed new plans for a stadium to be built on the grounds of Movilla High School,[1] Ards returned to the top-flight once more under the stewardship of Niall Currie, who sought to bolster his squad with no less than 15 new signings. These included experienced Premiership players such as Ballymena United centre-back Johnny Taylor, and former Glenavon striker Gary Liggett. Other recruitments included defender Stuart McMullan and French striker Guillaume Keke, both signed from Larne. Ards started the season with a credible 2–2 draw with Cliftonville and went on to win their next three games in a row to become early leaders at the top of the league table. Following Niall Currie's move to manage hometown club Portadown the club appointed Glentoran legend Colin Nixon as his replacement.

Londonderry Park

Plans were under-way to develop Londonderry Park as the new grounds for the team. Planning officials gave Ards Borough Council the go-ahead on the £3.8 million plan in October 2010.[2]

In 2009, supporters launched a campaign, 'Bring Ards FC Home', in which they publicised the need in the media and had discussions with politicians. Back as far as November 2008, the Council had discussed the need for a new Ards stadium. It was decided in April 2009 that Londonderry Park, on the Portaferry Road in Newtownards, was the best option and the Ards Council accepted the tender for redevelopment of the site in September 2010.[3] Plans included upgrades to the existing grass surfaces and the addition of new synthetic surfaces, and to allow for the possibility of future upgrading to meet regulations should the need arise. The ground would have also continued to provide facilities for hockey and cricket.

However, in August 2012 it was announced that Ards Borough Council would not be proceeding with the new stadium, and the plans were shelved.[4][5]

European Record


Competition Matches W D L GF GA
European Cup
European Cup Winners' Cup
UEFA Intertoto Cup


Season Competition Round Opponent Home Away Aggregate
1958–59 European Cup PR France Stade Reims 1–4 2–6 3–10
1969–70 European Cup Winners' Cup 1R Italy Roma 0–0 1–3 1–3
1973–74 UEFA Cup 1R Belgium Standard Liège 3–2 1–6 4–8
1974–75 European Cup Winners' Cup 1R Netherlands PSV Eindhoven 1–4 0–10 1–14
1997 UEFA Intertoto Cup Group 3 Belgium Royal Antwerp 0–1 5th
Cyprus Nea Salamis 1–4
France Auxerre 0–3
Switzerland Lausanne Sports 0–6

Current squad

As of 13th May 2024[6]
Number Name Nationality
1 Alex Moore (GK)  Northern Irish
2 Max Greer  Northern Irish
3 Connor Maxwell  Northern Irish
4 Adam McCallum  Northern Irish
6 Michael Ruddy  Northern Irish
7 Eamon Scannell  Northern Irish
8 Patrick Cafolla (Captain)  Northern Irish
9 Callum Dougan  Northern Irish
12 Ethan Taggart  Northern Irish
14 Max Miller  Northern Irish
15 Matt Gorman  Northern Irish
16 Aidan Steele  Northern Irish
17 Connor Scannell  Northern Irish
18 Ross Hunter  Northern Irish
21 Ryan Arthur  Northern Irish
22 George Tipton  Northern Irish
24 Karl Hamill  Northern Irish
25 Corai Quinn  Northern Irish
26 Lee Newell  Northern Irish
31 Darren Gibbons (GK)  Northern Irish
TBA Marc Matthews (GK)  Northern Irish
TBA Mark Carson  Northern Irish
TBA Matthew McAvoy  Northern Irish

Non-Playing Staff

  • President: Billy Humphries
  • Vice Presidents: Brian Adams, Ivor Edgar, Ronnie Bailie
  • Chairman: Warren Patton
  • Vice Chairman: Stephen Wilton
  • Treasurer: Andrew McCrory
  • Company Secretary: Brian Adams
  • Club Secretary: Andrew Rodgers
  • Manager: John Bailie
  • Assistant Manager: Vacant
  • First-team: Coach: Daryl Phillips
  • Reserve Team Management: Matthew Shaw and Luke Buchanan
  • Physiotherapist: Sam Lewis
  • First-team Attendant: Peter Bloomer and Barry Edgar
  • Football Secretary: Andrew Rodgers
  • Directors: Warren Patton, (Chair), Stephen Wilton (Vice-Chair), Andrew McCrory (Treasurer), Jim Bailie, Gary Anderson, Stuart Dellow, Alan Graham
  • Commercial Manager: Anthony Caffolla
  • Digital Content Manager: Michael Barritt
  • Programme Editor: Adrian Monaghan

Managerial History

Tenure Manager
1935 Tom Adamson
1937–39 Sam Patton
1947–48 Ronnie Dellow
1949–50 Harry Walker
1950–51 John Reid
1951–53 Isaac McDowell
1953–59 George Eastham Sr.
1959 Jimmy Tucker
1959–60 Len Graham
1960–63 Tommy Ewing [7]
1963–64 Johnny Neilson
1964–70 George Eastham Sr.
1970–78 Billy Humphries
1978–79 Joe Kincaid
1979–80 Billy Nixon
1980–82 Billy Humphries
1983–85 Lawrence Walker
1985–87 Jimmy Todd
1987 John Reaney
1988–89 Jimmy Todd
1989–90 Peter Dornan
1990–91 Bertie Mcminn
1991–92 Roy Coyle
1992–93 Paul Malone
1993–97 Roy Coyle
1997 George Bowden (Temporary)
1997–99 Tommy Cassidy
1999–01 Trevor Anderson
2001–03 Frankie Parks
2003–05 Shane Reddish
2005–06 George Neill
2006 Gary Hillis & Raymond Morrison
2006–10 Tommy Kincaid
2010–11 Justin McBride
2011–16 Niall Currie
2017–2019 Colin Nixon
2019 Warren Feeney
2019–2022 John Bailie
2022–2023 Matthew Tipton
2024-Present John Bailie


Senior honours

Intermediate honours

† Won by Ards II (reserve team)

International Players

Number of caps listed are those gained whilst contracted to Ards FC.


  1. ^ "Ards propose school ground scheme with Movilla High". The Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  2. ^ Ards FC website New stadium gets go ahead Archived 20 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Ards FC website Bring Ards FC Home Campaign Archived 28 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Ards FC Website Stadium meeting next week Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Ards FC Website Statement from the Chairman Archived 1 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Tommy Ewing at Post War English & Scottish Football League A–Z Player's Transfer Database

External links

  • Ards FC Website
  • Ards Statistics and Results at the Irish Football Club Project
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