Belfast Telegraph

McFall, Smyth and Leeman already have Glens on path back to success, insists impressed skipper Kane

By Graham Luney

Glentoran captain Marcus Kane believes the east Belfast side can start planning for long-term success now that legends Gary Smyth and Paul Leeman have joined Ronnie McFall's backroom team.

The Glens announced earlier this summer that McFall will stay on as boss with good pals Smyth and Leeman coming on board to help awaken the sleeping giant.

It's been a quiet transfer window for McFall and co, but former Inverness CT midfielder Conor Pepper has now joined the club along with Lee Chapman from Carrick Rangers.

Glentoran finished outside the top six last season, and a Europa League play-off final loss saw a potential funding boost disappear, but Kane says the former Oval favourites can turn the tide.

"It's been busy, Ronnie has moved us up to four nights a week plus a Saturday so there's definitely a more professional feel, and Ronnie wants to get the most out of us," said Kane.

"The reputations of Leeper and Smicker speak for themselves. Leeper is more a coach, in among the boys, while Smicker and Ronnie are making the decisions on the first team.

"The new structure is working well and hopefully that positive feeling carries into the season.

"I think the fans realise that Smicker and Leeper are hopefully here for the long term and it's good to have that cemented so the players know who they have to impress and what their expectations are. It can only be good for Glentoran.

"The minimum is top six and we will give it our all for silverware as well."

Former Glentoran captain Stephen McAlorum has urged the club's board to let the three musketeers McFall, Smyth and Leeman weave their magic without interference.

The 31-year-old midfielder, who agreed a new one-year deal at Ballymena United, lifted the Irish Cup on two occasions with the Glens and he would like to see the club challenge for big trophies again.

"A club like Glentoran should be challenging for trophies in my eyes," said McAlorum. "You look at the fan base and size of the club, they should be performing a lot better. I played against both Gary and Paul and they are two massive Glentoran fans. The supporters will like the appointments, and we will see how they are as managers, but I would imagine it will mirror their playing careers.

"They will want the players to fight for the club just as they did when they wore the jersey.

"If anyone can lift the club it will be those two, but I also believe they need to be given time to get on with their job.

"They don't need interference from anyone upstairs. Move away and let them do their job, because if you have people looking over their shoulders it won't help.

"I would also ask the fans to give them time to get it right. Don't get on their backs after a few months, let them do their job."

Irish League fans can now get their hands on the 2018-19 edition of the Malcolm Brodie Northern Ireland Soccer Yearbook, sponsored by Hankook Tyres.

Northern Ireland's 'football encyclopedia' provides an in-depth account of last season's action across all levels of Irish League Football.

The yearbook follows Northern Ireland's World Cup Qualifying campaign, which brought us so close to our first World Cup since 1986.

It also features the friendly against South Korea and their trip to Central America as Michael O'Neill gets stuck into his new contract.

Belfast Telegraph

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