Gary Hamilton poised for management at Glenavon
Glenavon 3 Ballymena United 0: Glenavon were last night still waiting for the go-ahead from Glentoran to sign up goal ace Gary Hamilton as player-manager.
Hamilton, who was already expected to sign a pre-contract agreement to join his home town club next season, is suddenly wanted to play a dual role at Mourneview Park.
Nineteen candidates applied to fill the vacancy left by Marty Quinn who walked away two weeks ago and Hamilton has been identified as the man the Lurgan outfit believe can lead them forward.
Former Institute boss John Gregg and Glenn Ferguson were front runners until former Northern Ireland international Hamilton emerged from the pack on Saturday morning.
Chairman Adrian Teer refused to confirm the 31-year-old was the man they wanted but insisted: “We have made a decision we will stand by if it works out for us.
“At the moment it is out of our hands.”
Of the 19 candidates, one was from Spain, one from Scotland, two from England, three from the Republic of Ireland and 12 with Irish League connections.
Amazing really considering Glenavon's miserable season although the weekend win over Ballymena United —only their third of the campaign — saw them ease themselves off the bottom rung of the Carling Premiership ladder and into 10th place, ahead of Carrick Rangers and Lisburn Distillery.
And managerial change could be on the cards down by the Braid soon after frustrated United fans turned on boss Roy Walker during the Sky Blues’ weekend slump.
Chants of ‘Time to go Walker’ rang out at the final whistle after goals from Chris Lavery, Mark Miskimmin and Jay Magee piled on the agony.
Walker, who less than three weeks ago issued a statement to promise that changes would be made if there was no sign of progress come the year end, now has tomorrow night’s Irn Bru League Cup semi final with Crusaders as a potential job-saving 90 minutes.
United were in the doldrums from the moment Gavin Taggart, booked earlier, got his marching orders for a late lunge on Ciaran Doherty with only 22 minutes gone.
As if to rub salt in a gaping wound, young Lavery whipped in a vicious in-swinging free-kick which evaded everyone in a crowded goalmouth and ended up in the net.
Walker — himself a former Glenavon manager — was fuming and rapped: “The sending off was a disgrace on the part of the player who let us down.
“It was an unbelievable performance by players I put my trust in and who let me down.”
And Walker didn’t shy away from the chants insisting: “I don’t turn a deaf ear to the shouts because I can hear them.
“I understand their frustration but some people who think everything is the manager’s fault need to think again.”
Glenavon caretaker boss Pat McAllister, who is expected to stay on board in a coaching capacity under Hamilton, said: “I felt we should have scored maybe three or four more goals.
“I told the kids to go out, take the ball down and pass it and they did that.”