Belfast Telegraph

Glentoran £1m takeover completes to herald 'new era' at the Oval

The Oval.
The Oval.
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

The much-anticipated Glentoran takeover by a UK-based consortium has completed, marking what the group hopes will bring “a new era” to the club.

The deal was backed by 96% of shareholders at an EGM in May and discussions between the club and the consortium led by British-Iranian businessman Ali Pour have now come to a successful conclusion.

It's expected that investment of more than £1m will now be made in the east Belfast club.

While the long-term goal is to bring Glentoran back to the top of Northern Irish football, the immediate aim is to provide the necessary resources for head coach Mick McDermott to strengthen his playing panel.

It’s the start of an exciting new chapter for Glentoran. Stephen Henderson

The boss says the Glens will look inside and outside Northern Ireland to revitalise the squad, while plans are also in place to upgrade the club's facilities.

“Completion of this investment deal is a significant milestone and marks a new era for the club,” McDermott said. 

“We can now be serious about bringing the best available players to Glentoran, succeeding both domestically and in Europe, and re-establishing the club as one of the giants in football in Northern Ireland.

“We’re serious about attracting top players to the club and we’re now in a position to cast the net wide – including beyond Northern Ireland – to add to the strength and quality of the squad in the coming months. 

"In addition, we plan to invest significantly in some of the facilities at the Oval to ensure our players benefit from the most professional environment possible."

Anyone who knows anything about football knows that the basis for success at any club is financial stability. Mick McDermott

McDermott was appointed Glentoran manager in April and was soon joined by former Glenavon assistant manager Paul Millar.

That move caused controversy with previous manager Gary Smyth and his number two Paul Leeman subsequently leaving the Oval.

Smyth told the Belfast Telegraph he felt sick and disgusted when he opened a letter to inform him that his contract had been terminated.

However, the club said that both men were offered the opportunities to remain at the club while they received their coaching licenses.

Now that the takeover deal has been completed, hopes are high at the Oval that a new and prosperous era will soon arrive in east Belfast.

“Anyone who knows anything about football knows that the basis for success at any club is financial stability – and that’s where we are now at Glentoran for the first time in a long time," McDermott continued.

“We’re realistic about the road that lies ahead – it will take time to climb back to the top – but we have the ambition, the vision and now the financial backing to do exactly that.”

Glentoran chairman Stephen Henderson echoed those sentiments, looking ahead to what he hopes will be a trophy-laden future.

The Glens have not won the league since 2009 but did lift the Irish Cup in 2013 and 2015.

“We are pleased to finally complete this investment deal and welcome the many opportunities it will afford Glentoran to firmly re-establish itself as a competitive club at the top end of the table and challenging for trophies," Henderson said.

“The Glentoran board worked hard in recent years to significantly reduce the debt millstone around the club’s neck. This investment means that we can move forward on a sound financial footing into a new, positive era.

“We can now turn our attention to building the club not only by this investment, but by hard work, dedication and commitment from Mick, Paul Millar and the full team of coaching staff and players.

“There’s a tough season ahead as we continue to compete with several top-quality local teams with big squads, but it’s the start of an exciting new chapter for Glentoran and we very much look forward to what the future holds for the club and our fans.”

The Glens' next pre-season game will be at home to near neighbours H&W Welders on Tuesday at 7.30pm. The club's Danske Bank Premiership campaign begins with a trip to Glenavon on August 10.

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