Glentoran have been given the go-ahead for an ambitious £9.2m, 8,000 capacity, 6,000-seater new stadium on the site of their existing Oval grounds in a massive boost for the club and East Belfast economy.
Supporters last night approved a board recommendation, at the club end of season AGM, to demolish and redevelop The Oval into a modern new community-based stadium, over alternative proposed moves to sites at Sydenham and Titanic Quarter.
Funding will come from a £10million amount that has been on hold for the Glens under the Government's £110m sports grounds improvement programme that has led to the creation of the new Windsor Park and Ulster Rugby's Kingspan Stadium in tandem with redevelopment at venues across the country.
Now it is Glentoran's turn as they emerge from a £1m-plus debt crisis that threatened their existence. After years of indecision and false dawns, the club have finally settled on the complete reconstruction of their present site that will see additional cash raised from the sale of surplus land for social housing.
In partnership with Belfast City Council and Belfast Metropolitan College, new 3G pitches, training and community facilities will be created at the adjacent King George V playing fields.
Revealing the plans, Glens chairman Stephen Henderson said: "It has been a long time coming but we are in a position to move forward with a set of realistic plans.
"All the options were spelt out to the fans and they agreed with the board recommendation that development of The Oval was the most viable and suitable for us, not only financially but in terms of preserving our East Belfast heritage and tradition."