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Glens will be grateful for £10m

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By Steven Beacom

Published 02/12/2015

Glentoran fans have much to smile about right now. On Saturday the Oval outfit won under new boss Alan Kernaghan for the first time, defeating Glenavon 2-0, and on Monday they heard the club was going to benefit to the tune of £10m.

Over the past few years, plenty of stories have been written about Glentoran and finance, though most have related to the east-Belfast outfit being up to their eyeballs in debt rather than being handed a shed load of dough from Stormont.

The £10m, as part of a £36m package pledged to local football by Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin, has to be spent on stadium re-development. Several other Danske Bank Premiership clubs, but not all, can be awarded a maximum of £3m. So, why the huge difference?

Well, for starters the Oval was described in an official report as the most unfit for purpose senior football ground in Northern Ireland, so it needs a major facelift or the Glens need to move elsewhere in east Belfast, which is the club's preferred option. Big bucks are required to do either.

Also unlike other clubs the Glens have not requested grant aid in recent times to improve their ground firmly believing they were not staying at the Oval long term.

So far those who may end up with £3m have not complained about the figures. No need to rock that particular boat just yet. A transparent process should keep it steady.

It's no shock, though, and reasonable that Ballinamallard, Dungannon Swifts and Warrenpoint Town are unhappy at not being eligible for funds as their stadiums aren't deemed large enough. For that reason and a few others the Glens should and will be grateful for the millions coming their way.

Belfast Telegraph

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