Jim Magilton takes over at Cliftonville with Gerard Lyttle alongside

Jim Magilton is the new Cliftonville manager.
Jim Magilton is the new Cliftonville manager.

JIM Magilton has been named as the new Cliftonville manager, with former boss Gerard Lyttle leaving his post as Northern Ireland’s U17 and U19 manager to head back to Solitude as his assistant.

The former Ipswich Town boss “fits the bill” to “take the club forward and give our fans the success that we all crave”, read a club statement at the end of a prolonged process to find Paddy McLaughlin’s successor.

He left in April to join Derry City as assistant manager.

Magilton was capped 52 times by Northern Ireland as a player and went on to manage Ipswich for three years, followed by spells at QPR and Melbourne Victory.

READ: Jim Magilton interview: 'For three years I've been battering myself - could I have saved his life? Could I have done more? Why didn't I see it coming?'

After working with the IFA as their elite performance director, he managed Northern U21s before becoming sporting director at Dundalk in 2020, and briefly taking charge as interim manager.

He stepped down in November 2021 after less than a year.

READ: Jim Magilton: MacRory memories and the death of a dream on Merseyside

Cliftonville finished fourth in the Danske Bank Premiership, 15 points adrift of maiden champions Larne, and missed out on a place in the Europa Conference League qualifiers after losing the playoff to Glentoran.

“It’s an honour to be appointed manager of a great club with such proud traditions,” said Magilton in a statement.

“It’s such a competitive league and I want our fans to enjoy the brand of football that we will play. I want them to be proud of their team and I want them to play a role in helping us be successful.

“I may be new to the place but one thing I do know about the Club is that a united Cliftonville is a strong Cliftonville, so having the manager, players, fans and everyone else behind the scenes all united and all pulling in the same direction from top to bottom can make us a real force in this League.”

Gerard Lyttle joins him as assistant, with the IFA announcing earlier today that he was leaving his roles as U17 and U19 manager, which he’d been in since February 2021.

He was Cliftonville’s coach under the late Tommy Breslin as they won back-to-back league titles, before taking over as manager in late 2015, winning a League Cup before stepping down in 2017.