Belfast Telegraph

Glentoran rebuild is a 'massive project', warns McDermott as boss eyes route to the top

Glentoran boss Mick McDermott.
Glentoran boss Mick McDermott.
Paul Millar

By Alex Mills in the Sunday Life

Glentoran manager Mick McDermott may be working a 10-hour day, but he wouldn't have it any other way.

The 45-year-old has been involved with some of Asia's biggest clubs, as well as the Iranian national team, but he didn't quite grasp the size of the challenge when he was appointed manager of the fallen east Belfast giant back in March.

McDermott arrived at the club, along with his assistant Paul Millar, as part of a takeover plan devised by a UK-based consortium and headed by Iranian entrepreneur Ali Pour.

Following a lengthy delay, the deal was eventually sealed a few weeks back, which means the Glens are now open for business.

Although McDermott is relishing the opportunity of lifting one half of Belfast's Big Two off its knees, he admits it's a 'massive project'.

"Since the takeover has been completed, we are beginning to see a bit of daylight," he says.

"There was a delay, which was frustrating, but since it has been signed off, we've started to move forward.

"We knew what was required on the football side, the operations side, the financial side and the facilities side, but once we started digging through that, we realised that it was a massive project."

McDermott declares that his trusty assistant Millar was a key component in getting the deal finalised.

"It would never have happened only for Paul Millar," he explains.

"His football background, his business background and his knowledge of the local community has been invaluable.

"Paul was the central figure in getting the deal over the line. He's a massive personality, but he loves the place. He's a fan. I'm delighted he is part of it. He deserves a lot of credit."

Although Glentoran fans expect instant success because of the cash injection, McDermott is more pragmatic.

"We know it will be difficult," he adds.

"Yes, we have a new investor, but we realise this will be a climb back to the top. From the players, the backroom staff, the management, the Board, right through to the fans. Everyone has got to jump on board.

"We want to bring back the supporters who have drifted away over the years. This is a journey we have to make together. It's been a long time since the club achieved a top six finish.

"It will be a process. Initially, we want to stabilise and be competitive. When you achieve that, it's a platform to build from.

"And we all know that success in football comes from being financially stable. Any money that came into the club previously, should it have been through loans or gifts, it was basically used to try to clear the debt.

"This is different, this is money invested in the team. That's why 96% of the shareholders voted for the plan.

"The debt will be managed and taken care of by the club, but we want to invest in players, facilities and infrastructure around the team.

"We all know if the team is doing well, the club starts to grow behind it as well. The initial investment was to put in substantial funds over a three-year period.

"So within that three years, we aim to grow as a club and be successful which will hopefully lead to increased sponsorship, gate receipts, prize money and European money - that has to be our goal.

"On a football side, I expect us to be really competitive this year. By year two and three, I hope to be pushing the big guns at the top of the table."

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph