Glentoran have announced the appointment of Mick McDermott as their new Head Coach.
Speculation has been rife in recent days that McDermott would be taking over responsibility for playing matters at The Oval, and the Glens confirmed the move on Sunday evening.
Speaking about the appointment the former Assistant Coach of Iran confirmed his link up with a potential new major investor for Glentoran.
“This is a very exciting time for me and for Glentoran," he said. "It has been widely reported that a substantial investor wishes to make a very major investment in the club and I’m delighted to be a part of that.
"Negotiations with the Glentoran Board are at a very advanced stage and we’re all looking forward to taking the proposal to the club shareholders for their approval within the next few weeks.
"I’m aware of the difficulties the Glens have faced in recent years but as a Belfast man I’m also aware of how big the club is and what it will mean to the supporters, volunteers and the East Belfast community when we see the club restored to where it should be and where it needs to be.
"I want to play a very full part in the community and work with the supporters and the investor wants to do the same if the proposal is secured.
"The timing of this investment couldn’t be better; Crusaders and Larne have gone full-time and Linfield have recovered after a relatively poor few years; other teams such as Ballymena have strengthened and are pushing for European places.
"The investor is confident that we can deliver for Glentoran at the very highest level and bring full-time football to the Oval.
"We’ll return the club to a trophy winning place here in Northern Ireland but also make a mark in Europe – the goal being to win in Europe, not merely qualify.
"The club has a great tradition in European competition but now there are so many opportunities for a forward-thinking club to progress in Europe and strengthen even further by doing so.
"I’ll be full-time here and I guarantee everyone at the Oval and in East Belfast that I will do everything possible to bring the best players to Glentoran from both inside and outside Northern Ireland.
"The investor has been in discussion with Glentoran for a few months and is fully aware of the current situation of the Club in terms of playing squad; there is a good core of players that will be strengthened moving forward.
"I also know that we have some exceptional young players in the current squad plus we have an Academy that would be the envy of many currently full-time clubs in the UK and beyond.
"I strongly believe, with some focused work, dedication and commitment this can be the start of a very successful and exciting era for Glentoran. I can’t wait to get started.”
Glentoran Chairman Stephen Henderson explained the club had to make the decision because of the March 31st IFA licensing deadline.
"The proposal from the investor is now close to meeting the legal standard to be placed before our shareholders for approval," he said.
"So, we needed to ensure the 31st March IFA licensing deadline was met. Clearly the timing was not of our choosing, but we are all delighted that a coach of Mick’s experience and connections will be part of the exciting developments ahead for Glentoran.
“I’d like to put on record my sincere thanks to Gary Smyth and Paul Leeman for all their efforts since returning to the club and to Kieran Harding for his work as First Team Coach.
"Under very difficult circumstances they have carried themselves with total dignity and professionalism and I know they will continue to do so as part of the new management team.
"It is part of our long-term plan to give Gary and Paul the breathing space to acquire the qualifications required.
"However, the ambition of this club and the expectation of our shareholders and supporters can never fall below striving for European qualification each season.
"It’s the responsibility of the management and players to put us in that position through their efforts on the pitch but it’s the responsibility of the Board here to ensure the club achieves eligibility off it."