Belfast Telegraph

Comment: Whoever's next in Glentoran hotseat needs time to succeed

By Graham Luney

Gary Haveron has been shown the door at Glentoran but he may need to hold it on the way out.

Supporters' frustration has soared to the point where those running the club are feeling the heat and significant change in the boardroom is possible.

Eddie Patterson's exit from the club was a relationship breakdown and the Alan Kernaghan move didn't work.

Now Haveron has gone and the fans can't take any more poor judgment calls.

Chairman Stephen Henderson and his comrades on the board clearly felt they had to pull the trigger now in a desperate attempt to salvage something from another turbulent campaign.

Haveron's exit is no great surprise, particularly after the car park protest following the 2-1 defeat to Ards on Friday night, but the timing of it clearly indicates that the board no longer had any faith or confidence in the former Carrick Rangers boss.

Glentoran can still win the Irish Cup this season, qualify for Europe and hold their place in the top six when the split comes, but this decision confirms the club's belief that Haveron is not the man to bring the big prizes back to The Oval.

Football can be an unforgiving business, particularly for a Glentoran manager who, from the moment he accepted the job in September 2016, was destined to work with limited funds and carry the weight of expectation from a fanbase already weary from watching woeful performances over the past few seasons.

It was a daunting challenge for any manager, even one with a strong work ethic, as Haveron was unable to strengthen his squad with seasoned players.

Young players were tossed in at the deep end and, when a host of injuries inevitably arrived, the squad simply couldn't cope with them.

Supporters dare to dream The Oval could become a fortress again, but their home form has been shocking and the Ards loss was their sixth home league defeat in their last nine outings at the Mersey Street venue.

Ten wins in 28 Premiership games is a poor return and Haveron's home record read: played 33, won nine, drew eight and lost 16.

But, in reality, it seemed like Haveron was a dead man walking even before the season started. Before a ball was kicked in anger in the Danske Bank Premiership, the Glens suffered embarrassing pre-season defeats including a 3-0 loss to Amateur League side East Belfast at The Oval.

The depressing writing was already visible on the Mersey Street wall.

And there's no escaping the reality that performances have been poor - without the class of goalkeeper Elliott Morris, it's scary to imagine where the club would be.

It was going to take one hell of an effort to win over the doubters, and there was never going to be enough time for Haveron to do that.

Glentoran finished ninth in the league last season, and if they aren't careful another wrong move could see them spiral into a relegation battle.

As bizarre as it seems, perhaps relegation is what this great institution needs to take it off the life support machine and restore it to good health.

Build it again from the bottom with solid foundations, but the lack of a modern stadium is hindering progress.

Crusaders were relegated in 2005 and the club nearly drowned in a sea of debt but just look where they are now.

There are too many people who care about our clubs not to let them sink without trace, but the harsh reality for Glentoran is that there is no overnight answer to their troubles.

Whoever becomes the next Glentoran boss - and the club could do a lot worse than look at Dungannon Swifts' Rodney McAree - they will need time to turn this ship around.

Sadly, modern day managers aren't given time and some of them aren't even allowed to see out the season.

Gary Haveron's Glentoran timeline

September 28, 2016: Gary Haveron is appointed Glentoran manager

October 25, 2016: Glentoran are knocked out of the County Antrim Shield 2-1 by Crusaders after extra time at The Oval

January 7, 2017: Linfield beat Glentoran 2-1 after extra time in the Irish Cup at The Oval

May, 2017: Glentoran finish ninth in the Premiership

October 10, 2017: Glentoran lose 1-0 at home to Carrick Rangers in the League Cup

October 24, 2017: Glentoran lose 1-0 at Ballymena United in the County Antrim Shield

February 16, 2018: Fans protest after the Glens lose 2-1 at home to Ards in the Premiership

February 21, 2018: Haveron is dismissed as manager after 17 months in the job

Haveron’s overall record as Glentoran manager: P: 65 W: 24 D: 16 L: 25 F: 83 A: 82.

Belfast Telegraph

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