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Glentoran need ruthless and driven boss to become great again, says Roy Coyle

By Steven Beacom

Roy Coyle has stated that Glentoran can become a force in Irish League football again but must appoint a "driven, focused and ruthless" manager to succeed in that aim.

You get the feeling Coyle wants someone like himself to replace Alan Kernaghan, who left the hotseat at the Oval last month after an embarrassing League Cup defeat to little Annagh United.

At the age of 70, the legendary Coyle, Director of Football at Glentoran, has been placed in the caretaker manager's role for the third time at the east Belfast club and will be in charge until Kernaghan's successor is announced.

Coyle, the most decorated boss in Glentoran's history, will be back in the dug-out tomorrow away to his old team Ards in the Danske Bank Premiership and should still be at the helm for Tuesday's home match against Glenavon.

He insists that his temporary role will be just that, making a point in our interview that he has assured his wife Abby that it will be a short-term stay in the hotseat.

"I didn't promote myself but was asked by the club to step in until they appointed a new manager and I would never refuse that invitation," said Coyle.

"I have worked with the players now for the last three or four training sessions. Once you get on the training ground the buzz comes back to you but this is not a return to full-time management. That is for certain.

"If someone can show me a 70-year-old who is managing in Irish League or English League football I would like to know.

"Somebody said to me recently that 70 is the new 50 but I replied, 'would you tell my body that?' I'll do the job short-term. I've agreed that with my wife."

Coyle knows all too well the pressures of managing the Glens. Having suffered a shock 5-2 defeat away to Armagh City early in 2006, he received a police escort from the ground as angry away fans shouted abuse at him.

It proved to be his final game in charge.

And this after winning 16 trophies at Glentoran, including three league titles having taken over in 1997. The last time the Oval men were champions was in 2009 when Alan McDonald was in charge. Eddie Patterson guided them to Irish Cup glory in 2013 and 2015, but supporters yearn for another title bid.

"What I want more than anything is to get the right person in to take this club back where we belong," said Coyle, also a hugely successful boss at Linfield.

"To me there has always been a Big Two in Irish League football and that is Glentoran and Linfield. History tells you they have won more trophies than any other clubs in the game here.

"And Glentoran need to get back to that scenario where they are competing to win league championships. Irish Cup wins can camouflage things and to me it is all about winning titles.

"The next manager has to be driven, very focused and he has to be ruthless and never allow sentiment to interfere with judgment. And he has to try and get the club back to a level whereby we are challenging and winning league titles again. It doesn't have to be someone with a Glentoran connection or someone who was a top player. I think I'm proof of that."

Coyle insists he has faith the Glens will become a powerhouse club in Northern Ireland again but admitted the next appointment is crucial.

"There is no question in my mind that Glentoran will get back to the top and the board will be diligent in their search for a new manager," he said.

"There is always a place in Irish League football for the club, but Glentoran need to get back very, very quickly because if they don't supporters can drift away and that in turn affects the mentality of players."

The Glens are currently ninth in the table, having won two and lost three of their opening five league games. Coyle has been taking recent training sessions and is expecting a response from big-name signing Nacho Novo and his team-mates tomorrow when they face Ards.

"Nacho and the rest of the boys have been responding to the training sessions that I have put on. The season hasn't started in a great way and the defeat to Annagh United proved telling for Alan Kernaghan but this is an opportunity for us to get a win under our belts," said Coyle.

Belfast Telegraph

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