Glentoran 2 Ballinamallard 1
Disgruntled Glentoran supporters vented their anger at the club’s board as the players put a smile on the public face of the troubled club, while behind the scenes the turmoil has yet to be sorted out.
And although club chairman Terence Brannigan escaped the barbs from fed-up fans after Saturday’s 2-1 win over Ballinamallard United, that won’t stop them demanding answers from the man at the top.
A group of baying fans waited at the entrance to the Oval after the match, barracking a couple of cars as they drove out of the ground, but while the club’s former chairman David Chick — who no longer holds a position of responsibility at Glentoran — was behind the wheel of one it is understood Brannigan wasn’t in any of the vehicles that were jeered and he left some time later.
The first-team squad’s refusal to train last week after they went unpaid since the end of September brought further embarrassment to the east-Belfast outfit, who have fought one financial battle after another over the last two-and-a-half years.
October’s wages were finally paid to players before the match, but manager Eddie Patterson, his coaching staff and the backroom team did not receive any money.
A promise has been made that November’s pay will be forthcoming within the next week, but such promises have been broken in the past.
A statement from Glentoran, posted on the club website late on Friday night, revealed they were able to pay the outstanding October wages and also urged fans to attend Saturday’s game. There was, however, no explanation or reason for the late payments, other than the now oft-repeated line of it being a ‘short-term cash flow issue’.
While the chairman and the board have remained silent during the whole embarrassing episode, it has been left to club captain Colin Nixon and Patterson (pictured) to face the media, even though he is not responsible for the finances and, with his wages still not being paid, the club is in breach of the manager’s contract.
The unstinting loyalty that Patterson has shown to his players is commendable, as was the performance of the team as they raced into a 2-0 lead after just 18 minutes, with goals from Richard Clarke and David Howland.
James McKenna’s first-half reply set the Mallards up to have a real go at the Glens in the second-half, but after beating Linfield a couple of months ago they couldn’t complete a Big Two double, with Andy Crawford spurning a golden opportunity to level in the second-half.
“The players have been fantastic right throughout the whole course of the last seven or eight weeks,” said Patterson.
“The camaraderie between them is absolutely fantastic and I think that showed in the early part of the game.
“They know they are at this club because they are good players and they wouldn’t have signed if they didn’t want to be here.
“They knew from last season what the financial circumstances were, albeit we were told that it would be cleared, but there has been difficulty in getting money that was promised.
“Hopefully that will come to fruition next week and everything should be put in place.
“All we can do is manage what we can manage like the training sessions and we’ll be back in training on Tuesday night.
The players were paid and the rest of the monies and the coming month’s will hopefully be secured by next week.”