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Kevin Milhench: Former Glens director 'an inspiration to club'


Selfless: Kevin Milhench

Selfless: Kevin Milhench

Selfless: Kevin Milhench

Kevin Milhench, a former director of Glentoran Football Club and formerly a leading figure in the commercial property business, has died. He was in his late 70s.

He joined the Glentoran board in January 2013 and served for six years until retiring due to ill health in July last year.

In a statement, the club's directors, management, players and staff expressed their deep regret and paid tribute.

"As grounds director, Kevin played a vital role in maintaining standards around the Oval, working with his Monday Club, a great team of volunteers who worked tirelessly each week, irrespective of the weather, to clean up the stadium and undertake all manner of ground maintenance and improvements.

"As Treasurer of the Internet GSC (Glentoran Supporters Club), he also held board responsibility for the Glentoran Superstore and Milk Bar.

"He was usually to be found in the Milk Bar before matches and will be sadly missed by his friends Ruth and Brian in the superstore and by Jodie in the Milk Bar, as well as by all his Monday Club connections.

"Kevin was also heavily involved with the club's long-standing primary sponsor Bet McClean. He was always quick to help Glentoran in any way possible and his immense and selfless generosity was often put to the benefit of the club during some of the darkest points in the past decade, right up until the time of his retirement."

Mr Milhench joined the board at a time when the club faced considerable financial difficulties. Their finances recovered after main sponsors Bet McClean gave a fresh injection of money.

Chairman Terence Brannigan said at the time that "McClean's financial package and business support, which is ring-fenced to sit outside the sponsorship agreement, is integral to ensuring a successful resolution to our cashflow management and securing the long-term future of the club."

Mr Milhench joined the board as part of the deal. He built up a successful business career and was a partner in Crothers and Milhench, a leading commercial estate agents.

Ian Clarke, then a member of the advertising staff with the Belfast Telegraph, worked closely with Mr Milhench in those days. "He was a legendary figure in the commercial estate business and he was a man of great integrity and professionalism," he said.

Glentoran director Mr Clarke added: "Kevin helped Glentoran in so many ways. He worked quietly to solve problems and he was an inspiration to the club."

Paul McClean, a partner with Bet McClean, said: "Kevin worked closely with my father Al McClean for some 40 years, helping him to obtain premises for betting shops and other ventures.

"He was a very determined man and he had a good sense of humour. He was a real character."

Mr Milhench is survived by his wife Liz, son Rory, daughters Rachel and Sophie and by the wider family.

Belfast Telegraph