Belfast Telegraph

Money too tight to mention at Glentoran

By Graham Luney

This is the era of the reduced budget in Irish League football and therefore not an ideal time to begin your managerial career at Glentoran.

These are turbulent times for the east-Belfast institution on the pitch, in the boardroom and in the courtroom.

The County Antrim Shield final defeat to Cliftonville was a bitter pill to swallow for the Glentoran faithful who suffer severe withdrawal symptoms when trophies slip from their grasp.

With Gibson Cup glory now merely a fading and distant dream, patience is disappearing as quickly as the temperature is plummeting this winter.

It’s another winter of discontent at the Oval and no-one is feeling the chill more than passionate former player and now fledgling boss, Scott Young.

However, if the fans cast their minds back a little further past the Shield final they will remember how close the club drifted to financial ruin.

If it wasn’t for the extraordinary intervention of a ‘mystery benefactor’ the club would be out of existence, a shocking victim of financial mismanagement.

Glentoran chased the dream and almost went bust.

Ironically, Young (pictured) is calling for the club’s board to cough up more cash to inject new blood into the side next month.

At a time when debts have piled up and the club is searching for a new home in the east of the city, the Scot knows his hands are tied.

There is no doubt that the Glentoran team could benefit from a fresh injection of quality but Young will be looking in the bargain buckets and will also be keen to steer clear of those who might be motivated by money.

As clubs across the country implement a new wage structure and slash budgets, never has the need to uncover fresh young talent such as Cliftonville’s Rory Donnelly been more acute.

To their credit, Glentoran have introduced a number of gifted young players into their side but supporters of Belfast’s Big Two never lose their capacity to demand instant success.

“If I was given the resources of previous managers then I know that it would be a different kettle of fish, but at this moment in time that is not the case,” said Young.

“I have had to get on with it I have had to fight, fight, fight and it is difficult.

“I think there is a large majority of the Glentoran fans who know the situation where we are in financial difficulties, but there a lot who just think, we are Glentoran Football Club we shouldn’t be in this position we should be up there top or second in the league and running amok every week.

“It breaks people’s hearts, it is breaking my heart, but I just have to see what transpires over the next wee while.”

In response to Young’s cry for help, the Glens board have promised to support the Scot all they can — without putting the long-term future of the club at risk again.

Glentoran have sailed too close to the financial iceberg for comfort — they must not change course now.

Experienced businessman Terence Brannigan, now Glentoran chairman, has listened to Young’s concerns and the board will dig deep to try to find the funds.

“I’ve always held the view that it’s my job to support the manager as much as I can and I’m sure the board members would say the same,” said Brannigan.

“When I came in we had to look at the finances and change the way we operate.

Scott agreed to a substantial cut to his wage bill and budget and I have the greatest admiration for his attitude and how he responded to that.

“Painful decisions had to be taken and Scott took them on the chin. We are talking about massive cuts. He was dealt a very hard hand and helped by the support and advice of director of football, Roy Coyle, he has managed the situation as well as anyone could.

“We have no doubt whatsoever that the team needs to be strengthened. Scott has discussed this with me and his thoughts will be discussed by the board but we are also of the

opinion and most people will understand that we cannot put Glentoran in a perilous financial position again.

“At the same time we are aware that Glentoran fans don’t simply expect success, they demand it. There’s a brand of football Glentoran teams should be playing and they want to see that. Fans are right to have that passion and take that view. My job is chairman is to ensure the club is run in the right way so that the fans can be proud of their team.

“The Board share that desire and hunger for success but the finances must also be managed in a prudent way.”

Brannigan also admitted that “substantial progress” was being made in the hunt for a new stadium.

“We will need to present the Irish FA with a business plan next year and it’s coming to the point where we will need to invest all our time and energy into one option,” he added.

“This issue will be discussed at our AGM on Monday and we are moving close to getting a fit for purpose stadium that we can be proud of.

“It’s decision time and I am very confident that quite soon we will have a stadium that will add real value to the community.”

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