Back to overview

How Lano Sports helped put Cliftonville FC back on the map


If you took a close look at Cliftonville FC's pitch, you'd never expect it to be the home turf of 'just' a semi-professional team. The artificial grass is a real showpiece: for the fourth year in a row, it reached the prestigious FIFA 2 Star quality level. No wonder the Solitude stadium in Belfast is the proud host of international games and even Champion League matches.

The oldest football club in Ireland, Cliftonville FC was an amateur team until the early 1970s. After that, the Belfast-based team worked its way up to a semi-professional level. However, the poor state of the pitch remained the club's biggest concern - a sad affair for the supporters in particular. All that changed in 2010: choosing Lano Sports' PROFOOT MXSi 60 proved to be a master stroke.

Playable 7/7

"Upgrading our grass pitch had become indispensable," says Director David Begley. "It was in very poor shape. We had drainage issues and the adjacent reservoir was an additional setback. As a result, several of our junior teams were even forced to train on other teams' pitches."

In 2010, new funds became available, which was anything but easy for a fan-owned club with no shareholders. "At the forefront of our minds was a pitch that would be playable seven days a week, ensuring our club could provide facilities at the heart of our local community," David continues. "Lano Sports' PROFOOT MXSi 60 ticked all the boxes. The quality of the surface is unmatched. Time and time again, visiting teams confirm this: our pitch is superior to theirs."

Exceeding expectations

Today, both management and players continue to reap the fruits of choosing Lano Sports' artificial grass. "Our pitch meets FIFA's high quality requirements," David explains. "For the fourth year in a row, we've been awarded the FIFA 2 Star level, usually only reserved for top clubs and international match play. Lano Sports didn't just meet our expectations; they exceeded them!"

A renowned host

The days of having games postponed are over. Today, it's more the other way around: "Sometimes, we welcome other clubs to use our pitch, because theirs is in bad shape. In winter, we often have the only playable pitch in the Irish League," says David. And Cliftonville took it up a notch: "We're hosting international games now. And yes, even Champions League fixtures!" David proudly concludes.

An old glory, properly restored: we at Lano Sports are proud to have played our part.


Log in