Belfast Telegraph

I regret not making Oval move last year, admits Nixon

Relegation battle: Colin Nixon was sacked by Ards in February
Relegation battle: Colin Nixon was sacked by Ards in February

By Graham Luney

Colin Nixon has broken his silence following his dismissal as Ards boss in February, revealing that he was hurt by the sacking and that he regretted not taking up Glentoran's offer to become their manager.

The Glens wanted Nixon to take charge at the Oval last season but he decided to stay loyal to Ards and sign a new deal.

Less than a year later with Ards in a relegation battle, Nixon exited with former Northern Ireland striker Warren Feeney coming in to replace him.

Nixon is regarded as a Glentoran legend and one of their greatest ever players and admits he regrets turning the east Belfast club down when they wanted him in the dug-out.

"I was with Glentoran a long time and I absolutely love the club, as everyone knows," said Nixon.

"I regret not going to Glentoran. People say you shouldn't regret decisions you make, but I did. I didn't want to let people (at Ards) down. Loyalty is very important to me."

Talking about leaving Ards, Nixon said: "I left Glentoran (as a player) with dignity and I did the same at Ards.

"I turned Glentoran down to remain loyal to Ards and I would ask where was the chairman's loyalty to me? I didn't see it and I was very disappointed.

"It has been a steep learning curve. I lost key players at key times and it became tougher and tougher, though I still believe I would have kept them up."

He continued: "Getting sacked hurt me. Nobody wants to be sacked, do they? If you look at the statistics, we gave the most game time to teenage players and I felt something was building.

"It's another reason I stayed because I wanted to be loyal to the young players coming through which hadn't happened at Ards for a long time. We were building a format to stay in the top flight for a long time and making the team grow. My belief is that I worked very hard at Ards and did a really good job for the time I was there."

On the future, Nixon says he is keen to return to management.

"I think I have a lot to offer. Regardless of how it ended at Ards, I think I did a sterling job there. I had a vision and I had a plan and luck was on the wrong side of me this season but I have learnt a lot and the job at Ards has changed my management style. Now I'm waiting on another opportunity," he said.

With five games left this season Ards are second bottom, two points clear of Newry City, who they meet at the Showgrounds in what could prove to be a season defining clash tomorrow night.

• Two players from Ballymena United, Linfield and Crusaders have made the shortlist for the Ulster Footballer of the Year award.

The six nominees are Jimmy Callacher and Jamie Mulgrew (Linfield), Jim Ervin and Adam Lecky (Ballymena United), Jordan Forsythe and David Cushley (Crusaders).

Meanwhile, a trio of Premiership talents will battle it out for the Ulster Young Footballer of the Year Award.

Glenavon defender Caolan Marron, his former team-mate, midfielder Ben Doherty, now at Coleraine, and Ballymena centre-back Kofi Balmer will go head-to-head at the awards ceremony.

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