McDonald staying at Glentoran
Glentoran chairman Aubry Ralph says the club will give boss Alan McDonald all the time he needs to get back to full health and once again take his place in the managerial hotseat.
McDonald has indicated that, despite suffering severe verbal abuse from a section of Glens fans and receiving a number of disgraceful text messages to his personal phone following Saturday's humiliating 6-0 defeat to Coleraine, he will not give in to the boo-boys and walk away from his job.
However, the weekend’s events have understandably taken their toll on McDonald’s health and he was told by his doctor to stay away from Tuesday night’s 3-2 co-Operative Insurance Cup win over Glenavon at Mourneview Park.
It had been expected that the former Northern Ireland captain would decide that enough was enough, having had to endure an unacceptable amount of criticism throughout his two year tenure at the Oval.
But it emerged last night that, having had a few days to think about the situation, he has admirably decided to tackle the flak head on.
McDonald is hoping to be able to go to Seaview on Saturday to watch his side take on second place Crusaders in the Carling Premiership, with what chairman Ralph describes as a watching brief.
Whether that proves to be the case remains to be seen and either way, his assistant George Neill, flanked by coaches Scot Young and Tim McCann will take charge of first-team affairs for another game.
It has been a turbulent week for everyone associated with the club and Ralph will be hoping for a sense of calm to return to the pitch, giving the boss plenty of time to recover before he resumes his duties.
“We have stated from the very beginning that we will in no way put any pressure on Alan no matter what,” said the chairman.
“We never wanted to rush anything and we are still giving him plenty of time.
“I spoke with him (yesterday) and he was in a far more positive frame of mind than he was when I spoke to him on Monday night and he told me that he wanted to go to Seaview on Saturday.
“I told him that he doesn’t have to rush back, he can take as much time as he likes but obviously he is keen to get back into it as soon as possible.
“That is admirable and you have to give the man a lot of credit for wanting to tackle the criticism that he has taken over the past few days, some of which has been absolutely disgusting.
“Personally I am delighted that he has decided that he isn’t going to walk away from Glentoran Football Club.
“He was faced with a very difficult decision and I am glad that he took time before coming to this decision.
“It would have been very easy for him to quit as a knee-jerk reaction to what happened on Saturday bearing in mind that he has things outside of football to consider as well.
“Now I hope that he just takes plenty of time to recover and when he is back in the dug-out he gets the backing of the right-minded supporters at Glentoran and we can put to bed this whole sorry episode, which has frankly caused the club a lot of embarrassment.”