McLoughlin new coach as McBride leaves

Bryan McLoughlin
Bryan McLoughlin

Bryan McLoughlin is looking forward to a new challenge with Glenavon after taking up the post of first team coach vacated this week by Stephen McBride.

After meeting the players on Tuesday night before the Mid Ulster derby, McLoughlin’s first game ironically comes against his former club Linfield on Saturday.

“Once Gary called me and asked me about the job it was a no-brainer,” said McLoughlin, who captained Glenavon to an Irish Cup final in 1988 which they lost to Glentoran 1-0.

“There is a great structure in place at Glenavon and I can’t wait to get working with the players.

“Glenavon are a team very much on the up. They have made great progress over the past few seasons and it is a club which has always been close to my heart.”

Manager Hamilton is thrilled at the appointment.

“I’m delighted Brian has come on board,” said Hamilton. “He comes with a winning background and mentality. Not only will the players learn from him but I will also.

“I also respect his loyalty. He stepped down when David Jeffrey left Linfield and that is a quality I value highly.

“He tried to sign me for Linfield on two or three occasions and now I have managed to bring him on board.”

McBride, who arrived in the summer, has been forced to call it a day because of work commitments.

“We are sorry to see Stephen go,” said the Glenavon boss. “He has only been with us a short time but these things happen in football. Stephen is unable to continue because of work commitments and because he cannot give the coaching role 100 per cent he has had to call it a day.”

McBride, who was a player for 11 seasons for the Lurgan Blues from 1985 to 96, is sorry to leave. He has enjoyed every minute of it and stressed there is no rift in the camp.

“I’m gutted to have to leave,” said Stephen. “However, it is only fair to the club and the manager that I step down as I cannot keep balancing my work load.

“I want to assure the fans there is no fall-out, no rifts or anything like that. It has been a pleasure working with Gary, Paul Millar and Reggie Hillen. It is a great management team and we all got on well together.

“Even in my short time back I have noticed the family spirit is back from when I was playing in the team.”

Glenavon fans will not forget how the Lurgan Blues stunned Linfield with a Kevin Braniff winner in the first meeting last season.

“We have shown we are capable of beating any team on the day and if we get it right we can give Linfield plenty to think about,” said Hamilton.

“They have made a good start to the season, are sitting top of the table. It’s another big challenge for us and we will have to work hard, perhaps harder than them, but we are looking forward to it.”