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Belfast Live
Steven Crawford

Stephen Baxter welcomes North Down resurgence in Irish League

Stephen Baxter is hoping there are brighter days ahead for both Bangor and Ards.

Both sides have had their troubles in recent years but things seem to be on the up for the North Down duo.

Under Lee Feeney Bangor are pushing for promotion to the Championship to cap off an impressive season after winning the Steel & Son Cup at Christmas.

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The future is also looking bright for their neighbours after they signed a long-term lease for land on the Portaferry Road in the town with plans to build a new football ground that is capable of hosting NIFL Premiership fixtures.

Baxter, who has lived in the area for over two decades and had spells at both clubs, is hoping they will be back in the top flight sooner rather than later especially after taking on the Seasiders in the Irish Cup last Friday night.

"We need a strong Bangor and a strong Ards," he said.

"This area of North Down has a wonderful wealth of talent all through the area.

"There's a lot of great footballing tradition and good teams down this direction.

"It's good to see Bangor coming back into the fold and Ards working really hard at it as well with a new ground coming up.

"That pleases me no doubt because I have good strong connections to both.

"I started my career at Ards, I had two fabulous years there.

"I had a very brief spell at Bangor as the forwards coach for all of four or five months under my best friend Lee Doherty.

"I ended up playing two games for them as well after I had retired.

"I live in Bangor and I know a lot of the people connected with the club.

"They are hard-working, generous, fabulous people who are putting their heart and soul into it all.

"These are people I have got to know over many years and are friends of mine in the game.

"It was a pleasure to come down and meet them all again tonight.

"You have to tip your hat at what they are trying to do and what they are achieving right now.

"They obviously won the Steel & Sons Cup and are doing particularly well in their league and will likely get promotion.

"I'm thrilled to see the resurgence of Bangor. It's great to see that momentum coming back for them."


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