Belfast Telegraph

Hamilton joy at Glentoran return

Gary Hamilton has spoken of his delight at being dragged out of the ‘wilderness’ after an agreement was made to resume his Glentoran career last night.

It was thought we would never see the striker in a Glens shirt again after manager Scott Young made public his view at the beginning of last season that Hamilton was no longer part of his plans.

However, after a stunning change of heart, Young contacted the former Northern Ireland international last week and set the wheels in motion for a return to the fold, with Hamilton also agreeing to take what has been described as a ‘substantial’ wage cut.

The 30-year old had spent this summer training with the reserves, with a loan move to Glenavon, where he spent most of last season, having fallen through.

It is believed that Glens chairman Terence Brannigan made the decision not to continue negotiations with the Lurgan Blues or any other potential suitors, unless they paid a substantially bigger portion of Hamilton’s wages.

That effectively sidelined the striker and it was feared by fans that he would sit out the remainder of this final year of his contract without having kicked a ball.

However, a remarkable turnaround was completed last night when Hamilton agreed new, lower terms on his contract and will now be in line for a place in the first team in the coming weeks.

“It's good to be out of the wilderness, as it were,” said Hamilton.

“All I have ever wanted was to play football and as a footballer you want to play for the best clubs.

“In my eyes Glentoran and Linfield are like Rangers and Celtic in Scotland, they are the teams everyone wants to be at.

“I have always said that I have enjoyed every minute of my time at Glentoran — okay I had a bit of a sticky season where I only scored 13 but I still enjoyed my time and I am looking forward to getting back playing again now that it is all sorted out and scoring a lot more goals for Glentoran again.

“It will be good to be back playing again and put behind me everything that has happened over the past 12 months.”

Both Hamilton and Young deserve a lot of credit over this agreement — the player, for taking a significant drop in wages when he didn’t have to and the manager for showing maturity in having a change of heart, especially after seeming to feel so strongly on position regarding the situation.

Young said: “By (taking a pay cut) Gary has shown the management, players and supporters of Glentoran his desire to play for the football club.

“I would like to take this opportunity to assure supporters that any decisions I make are based on what I believe is to the benefit Glentoran Football Club.”

Now, with fans having feared that their strikeforce lacked firepower after Young missed out on Leon Knight and Rory Patterson, there is a new-found confidence in east Belfast ahead of the new campaign which kicks off on Saturday, though Hamilton will play reserve team football for a couple of weeks until he increases his match fitness.

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