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Chris Holt: Coleraine fans helping to send Patterson to Glentoran

Glentoran pulled off one of their most important signings in quite some time on Friday night with the capture of Coleraine's superb striker, Rory Patterson.

The Carling Premiership's leading goalscorer has agreed to join the champions at the end of this season but don't be surprised if a deal is done before the end of this month which will see the Strabane man pull on a Glens shirt a lot earlier.

And if that proves to be the case, then Coleraine fans could wave goodbye to their chances of winning a trophy this season, and they'll only have themselves to blame.

Patterson was booed by his own supporters on Saturday as he helped - and there's a massive understatement - the Bannsiders to a 5-2 win over league leaders Crusaders at Seaview.

Despite scoring four of those five goals - the second time this season he has hit that tally in one game, with the other, ironically, coming against the Glens - the top marksman was given a torrid time from the terraces.

The travelling fans were no doubt annoyed at the fact that their star man had decided that his future lay away from the Showgrounds and chose to barrack the player, cheering the goal then jeering the fact that it was Patterson who scored it.

Patterson didn't react very well to the situation, it must be said, but you can hardly blame him.

I am led to believe that his decision to join Glentoran was purely a footballing one. He wants to win medals and obviously felt that he had more chance of doing that at the Oval than the Showgrounds. Money was not a factor in this case.

Now there is every chance that he will go to the club and ask if he can leave before the January transfer window closes in six days time. There is no way that Patterson is going to want to deal with being booed by those who should be supporting him for the remainder of the season.

He may well keep turning in the performances that have seen him strike 24 goals this season. On the other hand, it is only natural that his morale and possibly that of the team generally, will nosedive due to the negativity that will surround every game he plays in.

Now, one of two things can happen.

Either, Coleraine refuse to let him go now, he stays at the club and leaves when the season ends, but finds it difficult to muster the motivation to play for fans who have turned on him.

Or, he leaves before the window closes and Coleraine are left without the man who has put them in a position whereby they can seriously put up a challenge to win major honours.

Either way, the supporters' actions on Saturday may have put a massive dent in the chances of an Irish or Co-operative Insurance Cup winging its way to the north-west this season.

Coleraine are by no means a one-man team. In Stephen Carson, Darren Boyce and Patterson they have a trio who, playing together, have made David Platt's side one of, if not THE, most entertaining team to watch in the Carling Premiership.

Collectively, the team have scored 46 goals in 21 league games, but Patterson has struck 19 of those alone.

Take him away and Coleraine are far from toothless, but their bite won't be quite as severe.

While it will be interesting to see what transpires over the next couple of days, should Patterson end up at the Oval before the end of the month then Glentoran will retain the title.

Goals have been at a premium for the champions this season and the addition of Patterson will make all the difference.

On Saturday, in beating Ballymena United, Glentoran finally showed the type of form that befits a team hoping to hold onto their crown.

If you add Patterson to that squad, despite Linfield's own transfer coup in bringing back Peter Thompson for the remainder of the season, you just couldn't look beyond Glentoran - and for next season too!

Belfast Telegraph