Belfast Telegraph

Biting Back

By Steven Beacom

After Gary Hamilton took over as boss of Glenavon in December 2011 he sparked debate amongst Irish League fans when he wore a pair of jeans in the dug-out for his first game.

At least the denims didn't look as ridiculous as the hoodie Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini sometimes sports but, even so, the general consensus was that the Mourneview Park manager should put a shirt and tie or tracksuit on.

Gary, always his own man, wasn't bothered.

Hamilton's appointment as player-manager of the Lurgan Blues was one of the most intriguing in modern day Irish League history.

I loved him as a player, one of the most gifted in recent memory to grace the local game, but it was a big gamble by the Glenavon board to place him in charge because many others involved in football here did not consider him management material... or even close to it.

Talk about proving the doubters wrong. Still an outstanding player at 33, he's doing a fantastic job with a top six finish confirmed and an Irish Cup semi-final against Crusaders to look forward to.

No wonder some Glenavon fans are now saying 'name on the trophy.'

Glenavon have not won the Irish Cup since 1997. If Gary leads them to glory, their fans won't care if he collects his medal in jeans, speedos or even a Manuel Pellegrini hoodie!

Belfast Telegraph

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