Ards delight after legend Colin Nixon snubs Glentoran
Ards chairman Brian Adams has admitted he feared Colin Nixon would leave the club to take charge of Glentoran and he's relieved the Oval legend is going nowhere.
The Glens informed Ards at the weekend they wished to speak to their former skipper but, despite tabling two offers for Nixon, the 39-year-old has opted to sign a new three-year deal with his current employers.
It's a huge boost for Ards and a kick in the teeth for Glentoran who need a manager to inject some pride back into a club that has been unable to keep pace with the Premiership's big guns.
And Glens fans will be asking questions about the club's search for a new manager after Rodney McAree (below) chose to agree a new deal with Dungannon Swifts after speaking with the east Belfast side.
Former Glens and Portadown boss Ronnie McFall has been in temporary charge of the team since Gary Haveron's dismissal in February and the club, while not in a position to put together a hugely lucrative package, were still hopeful of landing their target but Nixon was unconvinced it was the right move and decided to continue the work he has started with Ards.
The north Down outfit, who are two places below Glentoran in the Premiership, confirmed the new contract on their website, with Nixon stating: "I have enjoyed my time at Ards, so naturally I'm delighted to extend my stay with the club. We have a blueprint in place here at Ards and I'm pleased that I now have the opportunity to continue that work. I would like to thank the chairman and the board of directors for their commitment to the club."
The new deal runs until 2021 and Adams expressed his relief that Nixon was staying put.
"We are absolutely delighted that Colin is staying with us and we feel he has showed great loyalty to us," said Adams. "He has bought into what we are trying to do, particularly in our work with the development of the young players and teams. Darren, his brother, who is assistant manager and coach Davy Bryson will also be delighted as they were determined to stay with the club.
"There is that fear he would join Glentoran and abandon what we have achieved so far and I think that fear is only natural when you understand Colin's affection for the Glens and his affinity with the club.
"The contract is signed and sealed but from the moment Glentoran asked to speak to Colin on Saturday it was obvious we could lose him.
"I think he was torn and, after thinking about the offers, he feels Ards are a good fit for him. We gave Colin his first chance in management and he has learned a lot during his time here. Of course he's from Newtownards, his uncle Billy is a legend and Darren played for us. He was the right candidate in our eyes and the contract offer is a recognition of our belief in him and the good work that has been done.
"It was very important that we invested in our youth teams and they are doing very well. Colin has recognised the need to do that and he has pushed young players through into the senior ranks. I think it's fantastic that all that good work is not going to be abandoned."
The big question for Glentoran fans is who will the club turn to next in their search for a new manager and will they even return to interim boss McFall and urge him to extend his stay at The Oval?
The former Portadown chief has, however, been adamant he was only willing to help out until the end of the season, leaving the Glens looking for a new ma to revive the club's fortunes.
The club's board is under pressure to find a manager who can turn the Oval ship around because for too many years there has been a lack of stability on the managerial front.
The Alan Kernaghan and Gary Haveron appointments didn't work out, leaving the fans more disillusioned with the board.
And their managerial wishlist has dwindled again. Perhaps the club should advertise the position and see who applies. The official approaches haven't worked thus far.