New Glentoran chairman Stephen Henderson vows to carry on stadium fight

Glentoran are hoping to move away from their current Oval home
Glentoran are hoping to move away from their current Oval home

New Glentoran chairman Stephen Henderson has pledged his “complete commitment” to delivering a new stadium for the club.

Henderson – formerly vice-chair – was confirmed as Terence Brannigan’s successor at the club’s Annual General Meeting on Tuesday night.

Brannigan – who is also chairman of Maze Long Kesh Development Corporation – is stepping down after three years in the Oval post, citing other work commitments as the reason behind his decision.

When Brannigan was appointed back in 2011, two of the key issues facing Glentoran were the club’s perilous financial position, and the need to safeguard their long-term future by relocating a new stadium.

The outgoing chairman said he believed progress had been made in delivering those goals – albeit not as quickly as anticipated.

And his successor is hopeful the club can continue delivering in the future.

“On the issue of relocation, I have met directly with those individuals who since 2011 have supported our efforts to stabilise the club, who have helped progress the stadium plans and who will help secure the necessary funding,” Henderson said.

“I am pleased to confirm to our supporters that these key individuals have confirmed that their commitment to securing these goals remains as strong as ever. This is positive news and we are committed to keeping the supporters fully informed at every step in this process, a process that we recognise has seen limited evident progress in recent times.

“In the short term I and the board fully understand that the expectation of Glentoran FC is a successful team on the pitch.

“I appreciate the patience and understanding shown by our loyal supporters as we have had to significantly reduce the playing and coaching budget in recent years.

“This has not been an easy journey and we would like to thank the supporters for remaining patient as Eddie Patterson and his coaching staff have continued to build a strong squad, primarily through development of our young players.”

Reflecting on his appointment as chairman, Henderson added: “As a lifelong Glentoran supporter I am honoured to take the chair of the club and to thank Terence Brannigan for all his input, guidance and hard work over the past 3 years, during which the club has come through some very difficult challenges.

“This remains a challenging time for Glentoran but I and the rest of the Board will continue to ensure stability and complete commitment to both the day to day running of the club and to securing the club’s long term future in a new stadium within East Belfast.”

Outgoing chairman Brannigan admitted his disappointment at not delivering a new stadium within a quicker timeframe.

But he believes the wheels of tangible progress are now in motion at the Oval.

“My focus upon the creation of an enduring and stable financial position for our club has meant that the relocation to a new stadium has not developed as quickly as I had planned and would have wished. This is a great personal disappointment to me and, I feel sure, to the club at large,” he added.

“However, after some delay, progress is now being made on this important matter and I am confident that the Board will be in a position to make a positive announcement in the near future.”