GLENTORAN: Air of anticipation around Oval outfit

Glentoran Head Coach Mick McDermott
Glentoran Head Coach Mick McDermott
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There’s a real sense of excitement and anticipation brewing in the air around The Oval.

The reported £1million investment in Glentoran by UK-based consortium, led by Welshman Ali Pour, will certainly see the sleeping giant rise from its slumber.

Work has commenced both on and off the field following the takeover as they bid to return the Glens back to its former glory.

Head Coach Mick McDermott says the new owner wants to build a club capable of challenging for honours and generate further income on the back of that success.

“The short-term aim is to be competitive and get a team that is capable of challenging the best sides, but ultimately we want to be pushing for trophies within the next three seasons,” he revealed.

“The owner doesn’t want to come in and throw his money down the drain.

“He wants to build the club into a position where we are qualifying for Europe or winning leagues - because then the club will start to see further investment from the money that is earned.

“There’s a lot of work going on both on the pitch and off it.

“We’re strengthening the squad, as we said we would, and we’re also trying to get plans made for some of the things we need to do around The Oval.

“Some are urgent, some can be longer term, we want to upgrade a few things.

“With the delay in the completion of the deal a lot of things were backlogged, we had hoped it would have been completed five or six weeks ago, which would have given us time in the run up to the season starting.

“But it’s busy at the ground at the minute, maybe people won’t notice the changes straight off, but we’re trying to upgrade things especially for the players.”

On the pitch it has been a busy summer of recruitment with several new faces coming through The Oval gates.

The Glens have cast their net far and wide to bring in new additions with Marijan Antolovic and Hrvoje Plum arriving from Croatia, Thomas Byrne and Patrick McClean joined from the League of Ireland, and Elvio Van Overbeek has moved from Holland.

“We know the way the market works here with the good players already signed up and clubs won’t let them go or sell them,” explained McDermott.

“We knew we would have to look outside of the league, we said that when we came in.

“We’ve managed to bring in a number of quality players and strengthen the team like we said we would.

“We’re still actively looking for players. We’re happy with the squad, but this is football you have to continually look for improvements in every area of the club, and that really comes in the playing side.

“If good players become available we’re going to be in the market for them.”

McDermott has been pleased with the effort the players have put in over pre-season and says they are all raring to go now.

“St Johnstone was a good friendly but it just came a bit too early for us in pre-season,” he said.

“We would have like to have that game now when we’re firing on all cylinders.

“Overall pre-season went well. It was good to change the PSNI fixture to The Oval to give us the chance to play on the big pitch as a lot of the games were on a narrow pitch.

“We’ve come through it without any major injuries, which is half the battle.

“We’re under no illusion that when the real matches start that ball will be moving a lot faster.

“Overall we’re happy with how pre-season has gone.

“You’ve been training and talking every day and the players have put in a really good shift, but now this is what it’s about.

“It’s the final week getting ready for the opening game and you have to let horses run.

“Let’s see how this goes now.”