Belfast Telegraph

Will it be a game of groans to get Glens back on throne?

Paul Millar
Paul Millar

By Billy Weir

It is no coincidence that the final season of Game of Thrones is just about to kick off when life is being breathed into what looked to be a dying behemoth.

Not in Westeros, but in the East, as Glentoran, whose own plot lines over the years would have been chucked out by HBO for being far too fanciful, are seemingly on the long walk back to glory.

This red, green and black dander is shrouded in a good deal of mystery too and given the way things have panned out of late around The Oval, it is more likely to be groans than thrones that beckon.

The latest dramatic twist was the return of Paul Millar, a man thrown into the wilderness many years ago by Glentoran, but now back as one of a group of unlikely heroes looking to restore past glories.

The money man behind this revolution is British-based Iranian businessman Ali Shams Mohammad Pour, who through his links with Millar and new head coach, Mick McDermott, is ploughing big dough into transforming Glentoran's fortunes.

Two heroes from earlier hits at Glentoran, Gary Smyth and Paul Leeman, were nowhere to be seen on Saturday as McDermott's reign started with a 2-1 win at Dungannon to keep them in pole position for a European play-off spot.

Millar has left the comfort of his assistant manager role at Glenavon where he could easily have stayed, but having seen the script for the years ahead it was a challenge he couldn't turn down.

"We're not here to mess about. I was at Glenavon for seven years and it was a great club for me and it wasn't an easy decision to go but when you look at this project, it is very exciting," he said.

"It's a big challenge. In our head we have a three-year plan of different milestones we want to meet such as trying to get the club full-time."

One of those key milestones is to have Glentoran challenging for the title again although there is still the small matter of getting the takeover passed by the club's shareholders, but for that not to happen would be a twist in the tale no one expected.

Will it be a hit or a miss? Well, only time will tell. With Linfield always going to have the finances to challenge, Crusaders and Larne also going down the full-time route, plus the usual suspects, it is not going to be easy to achieve all those milestones.

But, like the final series of Game of Thrones, it isn't likely to be boring or achieved without a fair bit of blood-letting.

Belfast Telegraph


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