Glens must get it right on and off pitch
On May 2 this year, Eddie Patterson was a Glentoran hero after guiding the east Belfast club to Irish Cup glory.
It was the Oval outfit's second success in the competition in three years. Quite the achievement, especially given the backdrop.
Before and during Patterson's reign as boss, there was more talk about finance than football when Glentoran cropped up in conversation.
There were even times when fans genuinely feared if Glentoran would cease to exist, so crippling were the debts. What Patterson's Cup wins in 2013 and 2015 did were to provide a chink of light at the end of a dark tunnel stretching all the way down the Sydenham bypass.
On Saturday, the former Cliftonville boss was sacked half an hour after overseeing a 2-0 victory over Carrick in the Danske Bank Premiership.
Harsh decision in my view. Not so to many Glentoran supporters who felt, despite those Cup successes, that Patterson's time was up.
The Glens may have been hampered by injuries, but that didn't stop supporters becoming frustrated by the quality of football on offer this season and falling to seventh in the table. From hero to zero in five months. The modern game.
Dismissals happen, but, even allowing for a strained relationship with a board member or two, surely this one could have been handled better with Patterson informed of his fate in between media interviews.
He can leave with his head held high, not just for winning two Irish Cups, but also the way he dealt with such trying circumstances.
As for Patterson's replacement, many Glens fans are telling me they want a dream team of ex-Oval heroes Gary Smyth and Paul Leeman, good guys with the club at heart.
Whoever is appointed, I hope they can look to improve the team on the pitch without money related issues disrupting their plans off it. Only then can they hope to challenge again for the Irish League title they last won six years ago.
Highs and lows of Eddie Patterson’s stint at The Oval
February, 2012: Eddie Patterson is appointed manager of Glentoran on a two and-a-half year contract. Paul Trainor and brothers Seamus and Tiernan Lynch, who worked with him at Cliftonville, formed the backroom team. Glentoran were sixth in the Premiership table and were knocked out of the Irish Cup by Newington YC at the fifth-round stage, a defeat which prompted the resignation of Scott Young. The Glens finished in sixth place and missed out on Europe.
2012-2013 season: Glens finished fourth in the league and Patterson guided the club to their first Irish Cup win since 2004 after Cliftonville were put to the sword 3-1 in the final. It was a fairytale triumph as the club had been dogged by financial problems and, earlier in the season, players refused to train because they had not received their wages. The club also qualified for the Europa League, but the exits of experienced players such as Sean Ward, Andy Waterworth, Jimmy Callacher, Stephen Carson and Richard Clarke curtailed progress. David Howland was also destined to suffer an injury nightmare.
2013-2014 season: The Glens finished fifth and missed out on Europe.
2014-2015 season: Glens finished sixth but returned to the Europa League following a 1-0 Irish Cup Final win over Portadown at The Oval.
May, 2015: Patterson agrees a two-year deal at The Oval.
August 2015: Jordan Stewart (left) leaves Glentoran for Swindon Town.
September, 2015: Glens lose out to H&W Welders in the County Antrim Shield after a penalty shoot-out.
October, 2015: Glentoran say Patterson has been ‘relieved of his responsibilities.’ Patterson says he wants a better severance deal from the club.