Belfast Telegraph

Elliot Morris: It's time to stop our best players moving on

Glory shot: Elliott Morris hopes the Glens can enjoy a bright future after the takeover
Glory shot: Elliott Morris hopes the Glens can enjoy a bright future after the takeover
I’m in charge: Mick McDermott is staying as Glens boss

By Graham Luney

Glentoran legend Elliott Morris says he hopes the new takeover of the club helps put a stop to quality talent leaving The Oval.

The Glens have suffered hard times on the pitch while some of their top performers such as Jordan Stewart, Jimmy Callacher, Andy Waterworth and Sean Ward have pursued their careers elsewhere.

But there is renewed optimism a consortium headed by British-Iranian businessman Ali Shams Mohammad Pour can inject significant investment into the club and get the Glens challenging for the game's big prizes again.

It's well documented the club has been battling historic debts and negotiations are ongoing regarding the sale of land at The Oval to satisfy creditors' demands.

The supporters understand the club's need to secure its financial future and 96% of shareholders endorsed the takeover plans at an EGM on Thursday night.

The deal isn't done yet - there is still some work to do to complete the takeover process but the desire to see the Glens unlock the trophy cabinet again and quality for Europe has never been stronger.

"I said before the proposal was a no-brainer and I expected it to go through," said Morris who has made 731 appearances for the east Belfast side.

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"It's an excellent result for the club and while there's a few things to be sorted hopefully it will be completed.

"It's important there is investment in the squad and the club ties down players such as Darren Murray and John Herron.

"The debt has been a choke-hold on the club for years, the debts of up to £1m have held the club back and restricted us in terms of progressing.

"We used to have the pick of the best players in the league but we have lost too many players to rivals like Linfield.

"We do have quality players but there are other clubs with a significant financial clout that can recruit players. Linfield took Jordan Stewart, Jimmy Callacher and Andy Waterworth from us and they are now three of their best players.

"They became quality players at Glentoran and we want those days of our best players moving on to be over.

"There are ambitious plans for the future but I can't see any full-time set-up being implemented next season. It takes time but it should benefit the club."

Morris isn't ready to hang up the gloves yet but there could be an opportunity to do more coaching in the coming years.

"I'm still actively looking to play but no-one goes on forever," he adds.

"The immediate priority for the football club is to get ourselves up the table and challenging for trophies.

"We want European football as well and that's a big challenge, especially if we lose one of those European places.

"Hopefully, plans at the club take shape and there are better days ahead for Glentoran."

Glens boss Mick McDermott confirmed yesterday that he has no intention of leaving his position as manager.

"I'm the manager, 100%," he said.

"It's just speculation, nobody else is coming in.

"It's a role I have enjoyed for the seven games I have taken charge.

"I can't say what might happen two, three or four years down the line but for now my target, with my staff, is to hit the ground running at the start of the season."

Across Belfast, meanwhile, Cliftonville will pay tribute to their departing legend, Ryan Catney this afternoon.

The Reds will take on a Tommy Breslin XI at Solitude (2pm) in what will be Catney's final appearance for the Reds.

His Testimonial Match is a fitting reward for his 12 years of dedicated service since arriving from Lisburn Distillery.

Elsewhere, Warrenpoint Town have handed contract extensions to a number of players.

Signing on are Berraat Turker, Mark Byrne, Conall Young, Anto Reilly, Danny Wallace, Emmet Hughes, Francis McCaffrey, Deane Watters, Matty Lynch, Mark Griffin, Alan O'Sullivan, Philip Donnelly and Ciaran O'Connor, while James Magowan has also been promoted from youth to the senior squad.

• Northern Ireland defender Conor McLaughlin has been released by Millwall.

The 27-year-old was previously at Fleetwood Town.

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