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Fans will help us get club moving in right direction, says Leeman

By Graham Luney

Glentoran legend Paul Leeman has urged The Oval faithful to rally behind the new management team to restore some stability to the club.

Leeman and former H&W Welders boss Gary Smyth will work alongside Ronnie McFall and Kieran Harding in an intriguing new set-up focused on transforming the club's fortunes.

The 40-year-old, who played 597 times for his boyhood club, once formed a no-nonsense defensive partnership with Smyth at the Glens from 2001 to 2004, and now the good friends will set out to stop the rot at The Oval.

Glentoran fans have been left frustrated by poor results and too many managerial changes in recent years but Leeman hopes better days are ahead, and he's stressed the importance of the supporters playing their part.

"I was with the Glens for 17 years, won everything and had a great rapport with the fans so it's great to come back in these circumstances," said Leeman, who won 21 trophies at the Glens including four League Championships and four Irish Cups.

"We want the fans to get behind us because we need everyone rallying together for the good of the club. Things won't change overnight, some patience will be needed, but we are confident we can get the club back on the right path.

"I'm really excited about this new role and looking forward to it.

"Helping to develop the young players at the club will be part of the role but I'm hoping to remain part of the staff for a long time.

"It's a good opportunity for me to help a club that means a lot to me and also learn to be a good coach.

"This club has been a major part of my whole life and, while I had previous offers to work with the Glens and elsewhere, the timing is right and hopefully we can make a real difference.

"It's no secret the club has been through a few difficult years and it needs some stability. You can't have a scenario where managers are coming and going.

"You need to have a long term plan and brining Gary to the club from the Welders is a key part in that mission to become successful again."

Glentoran chairman Stephen Henderson expressed his delight at the new managerial set-up.

"Ronnie has agreed to lead a new structure as we prepare the ground for a regime we believe can successfully work to return the club to the sustainable competitive position we all expect," he said.

"Supporters and the Board have felt for some time that the management team at The Oval needed to include some presence with an understanding of Glentoran and of the standards historically set by the club.

"With Ronnie, Gary and Paul we now have three men who between them amassed 1104 first team appearances and 43 winners' medals.

"We have long wanted to bring Gary and Paul back to the club but on previous occasions time and circumstances weren't right," he said.

"Now they have returned we are confident their talent, experience and understanding of Glentoran will prove invaluable in the years to come."

• CARRICK Rangers have appointed Niall Currie as manager, replacing Davy McAlinden.

The former Ards and Portadown boss will be tasked with returning Carrrick to the top flight at the first time of asking.

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