Glentoran boss Eddie Patterson agrees a new deal at The Oval
Glentoran have agreed a new one-year contract extension with manager Eddie Patterson.
It is understood that the east Belfast club and Patterson have dealt with outstanding issues that had threatened the relationship and all parties are now intent on moving forward and building on the Irish Cup success earlier this month.
Patterson has done an exceptional job at The Oval in difficult financial circumstances, winning two Irish Cup finals in just three years, and his dream scenario is to put together a squad that can challenge for the title.
In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph before the Cup final victory over Portadown, the Glens boss said he believed it would take two years to make that happen if he could keep existing players and add experience to the group.
With the new 12-month deal added to the one year he had left on his contract, Patterson has now been given the time he feels he needs to challenge the likes of current champions Crusaders, Linfield and his former club Cliftonville at the top of the table.
Glens fans will be happy to hear the news about their manager and for the first time in several troubled years can start to look forward with excitement knowing that the £170,000 gained from the Cup win and Europa League qualification can help ease the debts at the club and recruit new talent.
Patterson, too, can look towards the future.
Despite steadying a ship on the verge of sinking when he arrived in 2012 and leading the Glens to two trophies, he felt that he and his backroom staff were not getting the respect they deserved at the club.
Clearly though those problems have been resolved and fans can expect to see new arrivals coming to The Oval in the weeks and months ahead.
There could also be movement at his old team Cliftonville with plenty of cross-channel interest in Reds striker Joe Gormley.
One man staying at Solitude, however, is captain George McMullan after he signed a new contract.
Gormley's immediate future is not so certain. The 25-year-old proved that he could still score goals without Northern Ireland international Liam Boyce by his side as he broke his own record, hitting the net 40 times in the 2014-15 season.
Boyce is now banging in the goals for Ross County in the Scottish Premiership with suggestions in Scotland that the club are lining up a move to re-unite him with Gormley. Motherwell and St Johnstone are also interested while Peterborough United are monitoring the situation along with a few others.
"I would be surprised if there wasn't interest in Joe this summer," said Cliftonville boss Tommy Breslin.
"Everyone is looking for goalscorers and Joe has proven himself now over a number of seasons. It comes down to whether that interest is genuine or if it is just speculation.
"Either way it's out of our control, we just have to deal with it if someone does show real interest and backs it up, but there hasn't been anything firm from anyone at this stage."
The Reds would stand to pick up a healthy fee should any club put a bid on the table for Gormley as his current contract - signed in January last year - still has two years to run.
And the cash could come in handy after the dethroned champions slipped to fifth in the Danske Bank Premiership and missed out on Europe.
"I think that if any clubs are considering coming in for Joe it will be a few weeks before anything happens," said Breslin.
"The season is only just finishing up in Scotland, some clubs are involved in play-offs and they might not be sure yet what players they need for next season or what money they have to spend. Some clubs are without managers as well."
McMullan's new deal takes him into his 15th season with the club and will almost certainly see him overtake the recently retired Ronan Scannell on Cliftonville's all-time appearance list.
The 33-year-old is just six games behind the former left-back, but remains 93 adrift of 1998 title-winning skipper Mickey Donnelly's record of 610.