Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Local game needs a strong Glentoran, says Michael Halliday

Michael Halliday has admitted he’s surprised by the cash crisis which is threatening to destroy his former club.

The former Glentoran favourite is haunted by the prospect the club where he won the lot could face administration.

Although he now dons a Crusaders shirt, Halliday fought for the Glens for more than a decade and he fears that if the east Belfast giants cease to exist, it could spell disaster for the rest of the league.

“It couldn’t be a good thing for Glentoran to disappear, a club that has such a big role in this league,” said the striker.

“The supporters bring a lot to the league and it’s perhaps true that Linfield need a healthy Glentoran as well.

“The league needs a strong Glentoran, with other clubs relying on the revenue their fans bring. It will have an effect across the league as a whole if Glentoran cease to exist.

“I wouldn’t say I’m shocked by developments, but I knew bits and pieces of it having spent a long time at the club.

“I knew there were financial problems when I left but I didn’t know the extent of those problems.

“It was well documented at the start of the season that players had to be let go to reduce the wage bill and you see now why.”

Halliday was speaking at yesterday’s Co-operative Insurance Cup quarter-final draw as the Crues were handed a tricky trip to Ballymena United.

Cup holders Glentoran will take on Cliftonville at Solitude in the tie of the round. Portadown will host Coleraine, while Linfield’s conquerors Newry City will visit Lisburn Distillery.

Halliday has embarked on a new adventure at Seaview this season and he’s enjoying the ride so far. I’m really enjoying it at Crusaders where the boys have been fantastic,” he added. “We have a young team and there’s a lot of potential in the squad. We are a team who can beat anyone but if our performance level drops any side can beat us. We have had a tough time in recent days, losing heavily to Linfield and then to Glentoran in the Shield but hopefully we can address that quickly, starting on Saturday by beating Coleraine.”

Also attending yesterday’s draw at Windsor Avenue was the new IFA vice-president Terry Pateman.

With a cash crisis hitting top clubs and the end of Raymond Kennedy’s reign as president of the Irish FA, the domestic game has been through a testing time, but Pateman says its reputation can be restored.

“Hopefully I will be able to help all clubs move forward,” he said. “We are all committed to the same goal which is to promote football and make it the number one sport again in Northern Ireland. Hopefully, we can secure more investment in the game to help us achieve that goal.”

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