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I'll give my all to rejuvenate Glens: McFall

By Graham Luney

Ronnie McFall says he's up for the challenge of transforming Glentoran's fortunes.

The legendary manager, one of the longest-serving bosses the game has known, has agreed to come out of retirement and take charge of the club following the dismissal of Gary Haveron.

McFall's former assistant at Portadown, Kieran Harding, will be his No.2 again, and the man who enjoyed nine successful years at Glentoran as both player and manager is hungry to secure the club's top-six status and stay in the hunt for Irish Cup glory.

"I will work very hard to help the club finish the season strongly," said McFall, who returns to The Oval after a 34-year absence.

"I am not setting any targets but clearly we want to secure top-six football and keep performing well in the Irish Cup."

McFall added: "The club's chairman and board of directors will look at the future of the club and who they would like to take charge. The fixtures are tough but I am relishing the challenge."

Harding said he wasn't surprised by McFall's return to the game as "football is in his blood", and he added: "Ronnie has a lot of affection for Glentoran and it's a decision which has given him a real lift."

McFall played for the east Belfast side from 1975 to 1979 before taking over as manager and leading the side to an unbeaten season in 1980-81 as they were crowned league champions.

He was appointed Portadown manager in 1986 and he spent nearly 30 years in charge at Shamrock Park, winning four Irish League titles and three Irish Cups.

"I've agreed to come in and help Glentoran until the end of the season," said the now 72-year-old. "Kieran Harding, my former assistant at Portadown, has agreed to join me here.

"Glentoran asked me to come in and help the club and, after giving it some thought, I felt it was the right decision to come out of retirement.

"I am relishing the challenge. I am not in a position to strengthen the squad with new players but I have watched the team and am confident the players can give the fans something to shout about this season.

"I obviously know my nephew Ross Redman and Peter McMahon from Portadown and worked with Curtis Allen in an Under-23 team. Other players aren't so familiar to me but I'm excited about this new role I have been given and I am very much up for the challenge at a club I have tremendous respect and affection for."

Harding explained: "I have a long-standing friendship and working relationship with Ronnie.

"We've been through a lot together at Portadown and Ronnie has asked me to come on board with him at Glentoran to help the club. I'm delighted to help in any way I can. Am I surprised Ronnie has come back into management? He keeps his cards close to his chest but I felt when he left Portadown that was the end of his managerial career.

"Football, however, is in his blood and he has kept a close eye on the Irish League. This is a great opportunity for him to get involved again and see how he finds it.

"His appetite for the game is back and I can see that this new role has given him a lift."

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