Glentoran boss Haveron backs young guns to prove doubters wrong
Glentoran boss Gary Haveron believes his young guns can silence the critics and put some pride back into the jersey. There is significant pressure on the Glens to improve performances this season after a campaign which saw them drop to ninth position.
The Nacho Novo gamble backfired and Alan Kernaghan lost his job, opening the door for former Carrick boss Gary Haveron to inject some life into the east Belfast side.
Pre-season defeats to East Belfast and Dundela, combined with a draw against Rathfriland Rangers, sounded alarm bells and supporters, desperate to see their club hit the big time again, have genuine fears for the months ahead.
The Glens, who don't have the biggest budget in the top flight, have struggled to add seasoned performers to their squad over the summer but an injection of fresh young legs could produce results.
In fact, there is still a mystery surrounding the Glens ahead of the Dankse Bank Premiership kick-off tomorrow night.
No-one knows whether their youthful side, full of promise and potential, will blossom or find the going too tough.
One thing is certain - there is no overnight cure for the club's problems. It will take time to restore this east Belfast institution to the proud force it has been for many years.
Linfield's resurgence has deepened the frustration of Glentoran's fans but you learn more about people in the tough moments and they will hope their players come out fighting.
Haveron came in for some criticism from former Glentoran striker Nacho Novo in yesterday's Belfast Telegraph with the former Rangers hero saying he didn't see eye to eye with his old boss.
Asked how his relationship with Haveron ended, Novo said: "I'm still waiting for that phone call." The Glens boss chose not to respond to Novo's comments but he knows that judgment on his reign will be swift and possibly severe, however he's up for the challenge, while hoping the fans give the players some time to find their feet at The Oval.
"In terms of proving people wrong we should be using anything we can as motivation to improve results," said Haveron as he prepares for the Glens' opening fixture at Ballinamallard United on Saturday.
"I see plenty of reasons to be optimistic because we have brought young hungry players to the club who are determined to make an impact.
"It's a young squad, we had six teenagers at one point against Linfield in the pre-season friendly, and in those scenarios we need to have a bit of patience with the players. I don't think we should be expecting or demanding too much from them too soon.
"They are the future of this club and they deserve our support. I think it is the right system and model for this club at this moment in time. It's the best way to move forward but it will take some time for the team to gel. They will hopefully grow together and become stronger.
"We had a great trip with the Detriot Cougars tour and the boys know how privileged they are to play for this great football club. We have experienced players too like Curtis Allen, Ross Redman, Elliott Morris, Calum Birney and Marcus Kane who also have big roles in helping the young players push on. They have been fantastic footballers for a number of years and that blend of youth and experience can work for us."
Haveron has stressed the need for patience but he knows Glentoran are searching for quick inspiration.
There is a feeling the club is at a crossroads and if it takes another wrong turn the consequences could be disastrous, but the Oval chief is not interested in negative thoughts.
"I know this club is synonymous with winning trophies, its maybe not synonymous with being patient or being in transition but we need to see these young players develop," he added. "We have always been looking to strength the team but not in a way where we throw money at the wrong player. It's been about getting the right type of player and one that will fit into the club.
"We should be aiming to get back into the top six but I've got to say there is a burning desire to be successful here from the board down to the supporters. The board have been very supportive to me and I thank them for that.
"They have helped me bring players to the club and we want to see as strong a Glentoran as we can. It's not an overnight thing but it will happen sooner or later. Glentoran is a massive club with a massive fan base and we will do everything we can to get this fantastic club back where it belongs."