Belfast Telegraph

Glentoran boss Gary Haveron relishes USA trip to mark 50th anniversary of Detroit Cougars

By David Mason

Gary Haveron has admitted he is excited to have the chance of leading Glentoran to a little piece of history.

The east Belfast boys will head to America to play in a tribute game against Detroit City on May 27, to honour the legendary Detroit Cougars side.

It will mark 50 years since the late John Colrain took Glentoran to America to compete in a tournament that emerged as the platform to bring professional football to the States.

International teams were chosen to represent different cities across America, with the Glens selected to play as the Cougars, who were one of 12 founder members of the US Association.

And some of the original Glentoran Cougars will also return to Detroit for the first time since that memorable tour in 1967.

"The Cougars are written into the history and fabric of Glentoran, so it's an honour for me to take a team back there," said Haveron. "It's also a fantastic opportunity for the players. I constantly stress it's a privilege to play for this club. They now have the chance to honour one of the greatest ever Glentoran teams."

Detroit City FC co-owners Todd Kropp, Sean Mann and Alex Wright were guests at Saturday's 1-0 Danske Bank Premiership win over Ards at The Oval.

Kropp explained: "We thought it would be a great idea to play a Glentoran team on the 50th anniversary of the Detroit Cougars.

"It will be almost 50 years to the day of the Cougars' first game. They played Shamrock Rovers on May 28, 1967 and our match will be on May 27, 2017."

The Belfast club's financial difficulties have been well documented, but Glentoran Academy director Grahame Jenkins explained: "They insisted they could put together a package to make it happen. They will pick up the gate receipts and any commercial activity which will help offset the cost.

"They recognise what we did to bring football to their country 50 years ago, it's a great gesture."

Belfast Telegraph

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