Belfast Telegraph

We must strive to go down as Glentoran legends says boss

 

By Laure James

Glentoran jet stateside later this week in tribute to the Detroit Cougars side, but Gary Haveron says his team are "nowhere near" to being celebrated half a century from now.

The team fly out early on Thursday to play Detroit City on Sunday, and mark 50 years since John Colrain took Glentoran to America for a tournament which would pave the way for professional football to emerge in the States.

The occasion, however, has underlined the current team's shortcomings and manager Haveron knows how, without silverware, his troops are unlikely to be heroes for generations to come.

"Fans can rhyme off names from the past," he said. "There have been so many glorious teams at this club.

"I like to think I'll be remembered by certain sets of fans for what I gave on the pitch. I played with some who'll never be remembered because they didn't give it their all.

"A lot of Glentoran fans will rhyme off the Cougars team and the teams from the '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s because people remember success. That's what football is about.

"If you want to be remembered, you have to be successful.

"Obviously the Cougars are a big part of Glentoran's history. You want a bright future but people also have to have an understanding of what it means to play for Glentoran.

"It's a huge honour to be a part of this club because of the people who went before us.

"We are nowhere near where we want to be. We want to be back to being held in the highest of esteem like the teams of the past."

Representing Glentoran at a prestigious event across the pond carries its own gravitas, yet for Haveron this is an opportunity to move on from last season's failures, including missing out on a Europa League play-off place, and finishing in ninth with only 46 points.

"Next year will be the biggest in my managerial career, I know what I have to do," he added.

"These boys also need to understand what type of club they are playing for and what an honour that is. They should be proud and that should show in their performances.

"A lot of people play Irish League football and couldn't care a jot about it; all that matters is picking up a wage.

"I've always believed the more you give to a club, the more you'll get back.

"Players need to feel a part of something. If you have a connection you will give it more.

"Corey McMullan, John McGuigan and Daniel Kelly will be going with us.

"Dylan Davidson has just started a job after coming home from England and can't get the time off. I was desperate for him to go but it just wasn't possible.

"After that it is a relatively young squad. We'll have the likes of Paul O'Neill, who is only 17.

"A few senior players will be missing out; Marcus Kane is on a family holiday to Florida and Calum Birney has a wedding that he's part of."

Meanwhile, Curtis Allen, Elliott Morris and Conall Delaney netted the prizes at the end of season awards night at the Castlereagh Glentoran Supporters' Club. The Glentoran Supporters' Player Of The Year went to striker Allen, while stalwart goalkeeper Morris lifted the Castlereagh GSC members' Player of the Year award.

Delaney landed the Young Player of the Year award after joining the club from Glenavon last summer. He made his first team debut in the away win at Ballymena United in March and made a big impression as he held his place on the wing until the end of the season.

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