Glentoran fit for Gibson Cup assault: Daryl Fordyce
Daryl Fordyce knows exactly where Glentoran’s pathetic attempt at a league title defence floundered last season.
And the man who grew up in the Linfield heartland of Sandy Row is adamant that Scott Young’s men won’t be found wanting if this season’s Carling Premiership battle becomes the survival of the fittest.
The Oval outfit didn’t even come close to threatening Linfield. Alan McDonald’s reign in charge at the Oval ended in February and there is no disguising that there are problems at a club when the manager goes halfway through a season.
Financial difficulties still exist off the pitch. Indeed Fordyce was one of a handful of players that new boss Scott Young put on the transfer list in May in an attempt to ease the club’s cash crisis.
The 23-year-old never had any intention of leaving east-Belfast — although there was muted interest from Linfield — and such was his desire to stay that Fordyce doesn’t even know if he is still on the transfer list or not.
Instead he is focused on preparing to face Lisburn Distillery in today’s Premiership opener and is in a much better shape physically and mentally than a few months ago.
“Last season we weren’t fit enough,” said Fordyce.
“Physically we were fit, but we weren’t as fit or sharp as other teams. We even struggled against teams further down the league because they were fitter than us.
“We weren’t sharp enough to make short five-yard runs to beat opponents and that was our downfall.
“Whoever is the fittest will generally come out on top and we were short. It showed and we struggled in some games, particularly late in games when we let leads slip.
“This time we’ve had a really good pre-season. The training has been excellent and we’re as fit as we can be.
“Pre-season is when you lay the foundations for later on in the year. The second half of the season is when you rely on what you’ve done in pre-season to prepare your body for nine or ten months of hard work. So much of what went wrong last season was down to fitness.”
It probably wasn’t so much a case of Fordyce not being wanted by other clubs rather than nobody being prepared to meet his wages — it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that Fordyce, Gary Hamilton, Andy Waterworth, Richard Clarke and Shane McCabe are among the highest paid players at the club.
“I didn’t really think too much about it when I was told I was being transfer listed,” said Fordyce.
“It was only when I came back from holidays in Portugal that I started to think that I didn’t know where I was going to be playing my football at the start of the season.
“I had no intention of leaving and I didn’t ever feel that I was going.
“I think even if any of us had left that the manager still wouldn't have had the funds to bring anyone else in, so he’s probably glad that we stayed because otherwise the squad would have been even smaller.”