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Colin Nixon left gutted as Glentoran opt for Gary Haveron

By Graham Luney

Gary Haveron's greater managerial experience saw him edge out Colin Nixon in the race to become the new Glentoran manager.

Haveron's appointment was confirmed yesterday, but it was a tough call for the club's board to make for two reasons.

Firstly, with the Glens sinking as low as 10th spot in the Danske Bank Premiership, this was one of the most important managerial appointments in the history of the east Belfast giants.

Secondly, the club crushed the dream of a legend and former captain who has made more appearances for the Glens than any other player (792).

While Haveron has success with Carrick Rangers under his belt, Nixon is working with H&W Welders' Under-20 side and is untested as a manager.

Nixon admitted yesterday was "a bad day" for him personally as his love for the club runs deep.

"I thought I was the right person to take the club forward, but the club were looking for a bit of experience and they have made their decision," said the former defender.

"I believed in myself and the people I was bringing in and was confident we could turn things around. I felt the time was right for me to do that as no one cares about the club more than I do.

"But it's a hard job and I'd like to wish Gary all the best. Hopefully he will be successful."

Nixon, who could have brought his brother Alan in as a coach, still hopes to be a manager in the future, but it will take time to shake off the disappointment of this setback.

"I don't know how this will affect me going forward," he added. "I've spoken to the club about a few things which haven't worked out so it's been disappointing for me. All I can do is gain more experience and maybe an opportunity such as this one will come again. It won't deter me from hopefully becoming a manager and tasting success."

But Nixon's loss is very much Haveron's gain and the former Carrick boss was yesterday reflecting on one of the proudest moments of his career.

His first game in charge is an explosive one - at home to rivals Linfield on Saturday - but it's an opportunity to start with a bang.

Former Coleraine and Ballymena United player Haveron guided Carrick to a memorable treble, winning the Championship 1 title, the Intermediate Cup and the Steel and Sons Cup. However, he felt the club's successful Premiership survival mission last season was an even greater achievement.

Alan Kernaghan stepped down as Glens boss after a shock League Cup defeat by Annagh United, and the club have now placed their faith in 35-year-old Haveron, a young ambitious manager now facing a daunting challenge.

Former Glentoran boss Eddie Patterson admitted he was "absolutely shocked" the club's top appearance maker, Nixon, was overlooked for the position.

"I'm absolutely shocked by the appointment as I thought Colin Nixon, with the service he had given the club and his Glentoran identity, would have been the favourite in my eyes," said Patterson. "But sometimes bringing someone in without that history can work and it was the same with my appointment.

"You simply do the job as best you can and do it your way. But Gary needs the right support from the board."

Haveron factfile

Name: Gary Haveron

Age: 35

Birthplace: Larne

Previous clubs managed: Carrick Rangers

Clubs played for: Crusaders, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Bolton Wanderers, Yeovil Town, Merthyr Town, Lisburn Distillery, Coleraine, Ballymena United, Carrick Rangers

Trophies won as manager: 2014-15 Championship, 2014-15 Intermediate Cup, 2014-15 Steel & Sons Cup

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