Belfast Telegraph

Friday 24 October 2014

Glentoran board must listen to fans, says Halliday

Michael Halliday has called on the Glentoran board to consult with fans

Michael Halliday has pleaded with the Glentoran board to consult the club’s genuine fans as they aim to haul themselves out of a crisis.

Dark clouds have appeared over the Oval, with the club now in need of a new manager.

Of course, if it wasn’t for the generosity of a mystery wealthy benefactor, this famous east-Belfast institution would be sunk.

Like many other clubs, it was living beyond its means and despite the efforts of former player, Scott Young, his first managerial experience became a nightmare.

When the job starts affecting your health — as Young began suffering chest pains — it’s time to say enough is enough.

There is no logical explanation for a club with the proud tradition of Glentoran being beaten at home by an Amateur League team, Newington YC.

It was a tragic end to Young’s spell in charge, but attention has now switched quickly to the club’s director of football, Roy Coyle, and the new board who were put in place to steer the club to a more prosperous future.

They now have two massive calls to make — a new manager and a new stadium.

And Halliday, who will always have cherished memories of his 11 years at the club, says now is the time to take on board the view of genuine supporters.

“I know a lot of very good Glentoran fans who have put in a lot of work behind the scenes,” said the Crusaders striker.

“My hope is that they are consulted going into the future and that the directors just don’t go ahead and do what they think should be done.

“Sometimes people have their own agendas and outlooks, but the Glentoran family must come together now and work together. This isn’t a time for sidelining the fans or ignoring them.

“There are many good people who care about the club. So many people want to help the club, I would say to the board listen to them.”

Halliday will always be a Glentoran hero as his CV is packed with crucial goals, including winners in two Irish Cup finals and an equaliser against Linfield that effectively sealed the league title for the Glens in 2009.

The 32-year-old, who won three league titles with the Glens, added: “Scott’s decision to leave the club didn’t surprise me after I heard the Irish Cup score.

“The Glentoran job is very hard and demanding and there was always an element of risk in a young manager taking on the job in such difficult financial circumstances.

“Perhaps Scott didn’t know the full truth about what resources were going to be available. Glentoran are a massive club, but when it starts affecting your health and family life it’s not worth it.”

Coyle has stepped into the breach as the Glens continue their Carling Premiership campaign at Carrick Rangers tomorrow.

Halliday is also aware that his own boss, Stephen Baxter, will be linked with the Oval job.

“Stephen’s doing a wonderful job at Seaview and hopefully it stays that way,” added Halliday.

“He’d be a big loss to the Crues but the Glens have done the right thing in advertising the post as you never know who might apply.”

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