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Nixon boys would face big challenge at Glentoran, warns Smyth

By Graham Luney

Published 16/09/2016

Intensive: Gary Smyth says the Oval manager’s job is a huge undertaking
Intensive: Gary Smyth says the Oval manager’s job is a huge undertaking

Gary Smyth says Colin Nixon is an obvious candidate to transform Glentoran's fortunes, however he's warned his old pal that he would be taking on "one heck of a big challenge".

The Glens are looking for a boss to succeed Alan Kernaghan and steer the club back to the top of the domestic game and the Nixon brothers - Colin and Alan - are in their sights.

The brothers are at Championship side H&W Welders where former Glentoran defender Smyth is boss. Alan is first team coach while Colin has started working with the under-20 side.

Glentoran legend Colin, who holds the club appearance record after pulling on the famous jersey 794 times, may be a rookie coach but he would be a natural choice for Oval chiefs given his extraordinary playing career at the club.

Alan, who featured for the Glens as a winger in the 1990s, holds a Uefa Pro Licence required to manage clubs in European competition while Colin has the A Licence qualification needed to manage in the Irish League and he's also keen to secure a Pro Licence.

Smyth, who made 364 appearances for the Glens, can understand why Colin Nixon would want to help the club but he insists it will be a daunting challenge for anyone.

"I can understand why 'Nicky' would be interested in the job and I think Glentoran definitely need someone who has a connection to the club and an identity. He has the club in his heart," said Smyth, who spoke to Glens chiefs after Eddie Patterson's exit in October last year.

"While Colin was a fantastic player only time will tell whether he can be a good manager. It's not always the case that good players become good managers and we have witnessed that with guys such as Bryan Robson and Roy Keane in England.

"I don't think anyone can say, with any degree of certainty, that someone will be a successful manager. Colin is just starting out in his managerial career and if he takes this job it will be one heck of a big challenge.

"It wouldn't matter if Glentoran were languishing in the Championship, they are one of the biggest clubs in the country and it's one of the biggest jobs.

"It's a full-time commitment for any person, an intensive role and it would be very demanding on your time.

"It was thought that Alan Kernaghan was the right man to take the club forward but it didn't work out that way. I'm sure Roy Coyle, the most successful manager in Irish League history, cannot believe the situation the club is in." Smyth is watching events as they unfold at the Oval closely as his assistant Alan Nixon could also be enticed away from Tillyburn.

"Alan has contacted me to tell me he is happy at the Welders and I hope he does stay with us but things can change and if there's an offer from Glentoran he may wish to go for it and I wouldn't stand in anyone's way of making a move like that," added Smyth, who lifted the Irish Cup with Glenavon in 1997, Glentoran in 2001 and 2004 and Crusaders in 2009.

"Alan is very professional and a superb coach and we don't want to lose him It would be a huge loss to the Welders."

Belfast Telegraph

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