Glentoran players want me to stay, says McDonald
Fans may have wanted him out, but Alan McDonald is still Glentoran manager - because the players want him to be.
McDonald spoke last night for the first time since the Glens were hammered 6-0 by Coleraine, almost a fortnight ago.
And the former Northern Ireland captain revealed that while the angry reaction of supporters — which included abusive text messages being sent to his personal mobile — hurt him, it was the result and performance against the Bannsiders which hurt most.
“We were 2-0 down at half-time against Coleraine, we had to push to get back into the game but, unfortunately, we left ourselves wide open to the result which happened,” said McDonald.
“Afterwards it hit me really hard. I took the performance to heart, it upset me and got to me.
“In my opinion a result like that shouldn’t happen to Glentoran.
“I met with the players and we were all brutally honest and laid on the line where we are and what our aspirations for the season are.
“The reaction from the fans was understandable. They pay honest money and we have to give them value for money in our performances.
“There will be times when we have sticky patches in games and that’s when we need the fans to get behind us.
“I can handle criticism, but after the game the criticism and reaction overstepped the mark.
“The performance and the result hurt me more than the reaction of the fans. With the quality of players we have at the club that simply shouldn’t happen.
“I sat down collectively and individually with the players, there are private things that have to be a lot better, but they all said they wanted me to stay.
“If the players weren’t 100 per cent behind me I wouldn’t be here.”
After missing the victory over Glenavon which secured a place in the quarter-finals of the Co-operative Insurance Cup on medical advice, and taking a window seat at Seaview during last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Crusaders, McDonald is now ready to get back into the cut and thrust of management when Dungannon Swifts travel to the Oval tomorrow.
And for McDonald it’s the future which matters now.
“I want to leave the negativity behind and don’t want to give certain people any more publicity than they’ve already had,” said McDonald.
“I looked at myself first and foremost , which it is only right to do. I had to see if it was something that I was doing or if the blame lay at my door. I spoke to the players, the chairman, the staff and board members.
“I don’t want to sound arrogant, but in the two-and-a-half years that I have been manager of the club I feel we have progressed football-wise.
“I signed the majority of the players in the squad and I feel the emergence of some of the younger players backs that up.
“Now we have to knuckle down and get back to working hard and I still believe we can do well this season.
“I went through a lot of emotions, now I feel we have to move on.”
And the boss of the defending league champions won’t be fazed by the pressure that comes with being in charge of a Big Two club.
“Since I came to Glentoran as first-team coach and then as manager I know the pressure that exists and if anything that has intensified,” he said.
“Last season what the players achieved was magnificent. Some people have tried to belittle it which is scandalous.
“The expectation level has since risen and, therefore, there is a reaction when we underperform.”