Belfast Telegraph

Gary Hamilton can hit the big time for Glenavon

Hamilton's heroics with Glenavon should earn him a glamour move

By Scott Young

Who's the best manager in the Danske Bank Premiership? My number one is Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter and my number two is Gary Hamilton at Glenavon.

The job Gary has done at the Lurgan Blues has been absolutely miraculous.

In fact, the way events are panning out at Mourneview Park, I can see Gary moving on to bigger and better things.

With respect to Glenavon - and I know the job means so much to Gary as they are the club he supported as a boy - I just feel he can move on and do a job on a bigger stage.

I think he has the talent and ambition to become a manager in England or Scotland and one of the reasons behind my belief is that he is a man who attracts players to clubs.

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I'm sure not all the players who have signed for Glenavon would have done so if Gary wasn't the boss. Players like Daniel Kearns want to respond positively to his plans.

Daniel played for Dundalk against my Glentoran side in the Setanta Cup and he was a class act then, and an even better player now.

Gary has fantastic contacts in the game and that knowledge would make him a formidable success in any managerial job.

I'll call a spade a spade and if I didn't feel Gary had the qualities or knowledge to manage at a much higher level, I would make that argument but I firmly believe he does.

For people to be even talking about Glenavon as potential title challengers is a measure of the phenomenal progress we are witnessing in Lurgan.

The club no longer fears relegation as they are now a potent force in Irish League football.

Glenavon have top four ambitions, a huge desire to remain on the European stage and win the big trophies like they managed with their incredible Irish Cup success in 2014.

What a fairytale story that was.

I think the league championship is a bridge too far for them this season but if Gary can keep attracting top players it could be a realistic target in a year's time.

What I also like about Gary is his fantastic laid back attitude and I envy him because I never had that as a manager.

He has the ability to switch off and move on quickly to the next challenge without dwelling on what went before too much.

I would be beating myself up about bad results but Gary can see the bigger picture.

I've had my differences with Gary.

I decided to let him leave The Oval in 2010 and it was a financial decision.

I've chatted to him about it and we have drawn a line under it, I'm not interested in holding a grudge.

I brought him back to the club, made him captain and he was superb for us, scoring huge goals.

I'm now delighted to see him enjoy so much success as a manager.

Some people took to Gary, other people didn't, but I've never met someone who sticks to their principles like he does.

One of my biggest regrets is that I never played with Gary, someone who had the honour of playing at the highest level for his country, but I'm pleased to see him earn respect in the dug-out.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph