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Curtis Allen: Glentoran must give next permanent manager backing and time to succeed

By Gareth Hanna

Glentoran's Curtis Allen says the club must give their next permanent manager time to succeed.

The forward, who turns 30 today (Thursday), is becoming used to seeing managers leave the Oval.

He has played under Eddie Patterson, Alan Kernaghan and Gary Haveron since joining the club in January 2014, as well as Roy Coyle on an interim basis.

Ronnie McFall has now taken over the reigns until the end of the current campaign, when he is expected to make way for a more permanent successor.

And that's exactly what Allen hopes the next man in the hotseat will be.

"The club needs stability," he said. "At the end of this season, I will have been at the club for four-and-a-half years and in that time, I've played under three managers, four if you count Roy Coyle as an interim boss.

"Then there's Ronnie until the end of the season and somebody else in the summer, whoever that may be.

"A big club like Glentoran needs stability and needs a plan in place.

"It's a massive job and a big opportunity for someone but the club needs to bring somebody in that they will fully support and give enough time to fully build something."

Allen indicated that ex-manager Haveron had the backing of the changing room, something that could not be said of the terraces.

It's for that reason, the forward says, that he and his team-mates must accept responsibility for the boss's departure from the Oval. Haveron's Glentoran won only 10 of the 28 Premiership games they played this season but, for Allen, who has netted 11 league goals in that time, it's the men wearing the famous green shirts that are to blame.

"The players have to take responsibility," he said bluntly. "The result are down to the players. We're the ones on the pitch.

"Every player in the squad was given enough chances by Gary. Nobody could say they didn't get a fair crack of the whip but at the end of the day it's the manager who loses his job.

"As players, we have to look at ourselves. It hasn't been good enough.

"I couldn't speak highly enough about either Gary or Steven Mills (ex assistant manager). They were honest guys and if any of us wanted to say we weren't happy, Gary's door was open to us."

Haveron had 17 months in charge of the club, who were 10th in the league table when he took over the reigns in September 2016.

In a bid to restore the Oval club to former glories, he signed nine new players during the summer transfer window and added former Liverpool player Alex O'Hanlon and Peter McMahon to the panel in January.

"I'm disappointed for him and Millsy because he has worked harder than any manager that I have worked under," continued Allen.

"We released eight players at the end of last season and brought a lot of new players in, who haven't even had a season at the club. It takes people time to bed in, especially players coming back from England or stepping up to the Irish League.

"We brought more players in during January and three weeks later that's it. These things take time.

"Gary spoke to every player going but unfortunately Glentoran aren't in the position to pay the wages that other clubs are. We have really good young players but they need time and at Glentoran you don't get an awful lot of time.

"We've had a lot of injuries to people like John McGuigan, Calun Birney and Willie Garrett. Our back four as well, I don't know the last time we played two consecutive games with the same defence. That doesn't help.

"Losing at home to Ards isn't good enough for Glentoran but it's not good enough for this squad either. I understand that fans aren't happy. We all want to bring this club back to where it belongs."

Allen has worked will new boss McFall before, for the Northern Ireland Under 23 team, but says the success or failure of the rest of the season lie in the players' boots.

He said: "Ronnie knows the Irish League and isn't short of experience. He knows the club and a lot of us in the squad so that's a positive.

"At the end of the day, it's up to the players to stand up and turn this round. We've got a massive Irish Cup quarter-final coming up against Coleraine and we have important matches coming up to try and secure sixth too. I want to make a real go of this season."

McFall's first game in charge will be against Cliftonville at the Oval on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3pm).

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