Clarke to strike it Rich at Glentoran
Published 05/05/2009 | 00:00
Richard Clarke is joining his new Glentoran team-mates in targeting back-to-back title triumphs after agreeing a move to the newly crowned Irish FA Premiership champions.
Just over 24 hours after making his last appearance for Newry City, Clarke told the Glens that it is them he will join this summer - less than six months after turning down a move to their Big Two rivals Linfield - signing a three-year deal with the east-Belfast outfit.
His switch to the Oval will be delayed, however.
That’s because the former Northern Ireland under-21 international can't claim a free transfer until he turns 24 and a development fee of between £20,000 and £30,000 will have to be paid by the Glens.
The Glens haven't retained the Irish League title for 40 years. Captain Paul Leeman has already made that his target for next season and Clarke is hungry to win his first championship.
"I think it's time for me to find a new challenge and moving to Glentoran offers me the kind of challenge that I have been looking for," said Clarke.
"I spoke to the chairman Aubry Ralph and was impressed with his plans for the club.
"They have just won the league and it's a great time to be joining the club.
"I want to win things in my career and I know that I can win things at Glentoran.
“I think the team is on the up after winning the league; there is a good squad there who will be looking to win the league again next season.
“I want that too and I can improve as a player at the Oval."
Clarke ended his Newry City career with his 17th goal of the season - his highest ever tally - in Saturday's 2-1 win over Glenavon.
With Clarke secured, the Glens board will now attempt to strike a deal with title winning manager Alan McDonald.
And having worked with the Oval boss during his time with the under-21 international team, the club's latest capture is hungry to play for the former Northern Ireland captain.
"When I spoke to the club they told me that they want Alan McDonald to stay and that they'll be working hard to ensure that is the case," said Clarke.
"I hope that he is still with the club when I move there because I know how good a coach he is from being in the under-21 squad and I believe he can take the club to further success."