Glentoran’s saviour will stay a secret
A MYSTERY benefactor who paid £450,000 to save troubled football club Glentoran from financial ruin handed over the money on the condition that his identity was not revealed to the public.
First Minister Peter Robinson has disclosed that he was involved in negotiations with the donor who also insisted that major changes were made to the way the club was run at board level.
The club had faced a winding-up order after it racked up a £300,000 tax bill and has been reported to owe an additional £1m to other creditors.
But the short–term future of the Glens was secured after the businessman, originally from Northern Ireland, bailed the club out.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Robinson, who said he became involved because he is a lifelong supporter of Glentoran, would not give any details about the benefactor but stressed that he was not linked to the nearby City Airport or to the Titanic Quarter.
“It’s not tied up with anything. He has no connection to any business in terms of the airport, Titanic Quarter or anything else.
“The donor is an individual, he is a businessman, but these are not company funds, these are his own personal funds,” he said.
A new board, headed by Terence Brannigan, who is chairman of CBI in Northern Ireland, was set up as part of the deal.
Ex–chairman Aubry Ralph is now vice chair, and is joined by Brian Ambrose, director of operations at Belfast City Airport, and businessmen David Russell, John Moore, Ian Kerr, Brian Gilliland and Stephen Henderson.
The club's home ground could be moved to a new site in Belfast but, Mr Robinson said, this would be a matter for the new board.