Glentoran to hold silent tribute for Duke of Edinburgh after fans’ backlash

Glentoran FC has said the club will observe a minute’s silence for the Duke of Edinburgh tomorrow night – after a decision not to hold the on-pitch tribute on Saturday.

Sunday, 11th April 2021, 12:48 pm
Updated Sunday, 11th April 2021, 3:10 pm
The Oval stadium in east Belfast. Photo: Russell Pritchard / Presseye.com

The lack of the traditional tribute ahead of the game against Dungannon Swifts at The Oval provoked a fierce online backlash, with a former club captain branding the decision “a disgrace”.

Almost every football match across the UK was preceded with a silent tribute following the death of Prince Philip on Friday.

The Glentoran board issued a statement on Saturday, pointing out that the Union flag was flown at half-mast and a letter of condolence written to the Lord Lieutenant of Belfast.

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“The club has paid a dignified, respectful tribute to His Royal Highness under proper protocols,” the initial statement said.

On Sunday, the Glentoran board issued a second statement, saying the club “recognised the depth of feeling” among supporters and the wider public for a “more public mark of respect”.

It said: “There has been dangerous and baseless commentary since yesterday’s match suggesting this was a snub or that any part of the club was against such a mark of respect. This is simply untrue.

“The club’s next match is against Coleraine FC on Tuesday night and although due to Covid restrictions, this will once again be played behind closed doors, the club will hold a minute’s silence before kick-off as a further mark of respect to His Royal Highness.”

The statement adds: “We have also been in discussion with Coleraine FC and there will be a further silence before our match at the Showgrounds on Friday evening, the day immediately prior to the Duke’s funeral.”

Pete Batey, who captained the Glens during a seven-year spell at the club, posted pictures of himself serving in the army, and others from his Glentoran playing days, with a scathing caption, the Sunday Life reported.

The message said: “This is me serving my country and me proudly captaining Glentoran FC. You are a f****** disgrace.”

On Facebook, one fan said: “I am so angry at this shameful club, I agree totally with former Glens skipper Pete Batey 100%.

“This says it all for me about Glentoran FC tonight.

“Even Celtic had a minute’s silence, although a couple of their so called fans let fireworks off outside the ground during it.”

Another fan said: “Have supported them for over 50 years but this is shocking and an embarrassment.”

With the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral taking place at Windsor Castle this Saturday, it is not yet clear if the local football programme will go ahead at the scheduled times.