Andrew Mitchell has rejected claims he cannot handle the pressure and is determined to flourish not fold on the big stage at Glentoran.
Mitchell left his boyhood club Glenavon this week as part of a double swoop by the Glens that also included Caolan Marron’s transfer to the Oval revolution.
It signalled a frustrating end to what was originally considered a dream move to the Lurgan Blues - but Mitchell is ready to now embrace the future at a Glentoran club gearing up to challenge for major honours.
Mitchell’s time at Glenavon was often clouded in criticism the striker failed to maximise his physical presence and that pressure to deliver from disgruntled fans affected the player - accusations he is quick to dismiss.
“People can have a perception of you and everyone is entitled to an opinion but I never felt any stick from anyone had a lasting impact,” said Mitchell. “Sometimes you would hear comments but I never had a major problem with anything anyone said.
“I think people made more out of it than was really true, it is part and parcel of football and certainly did not weigh me down.
“Those who know the real me know I am not one to shy away or give up.
“I look back and 2019 was certainly not my best time on the pitch but now I am relishing the chance to get back on track in 2020 with a fresh challenge at Glentoran, one of the biggest clubs in the country.
“I want to win major silverware and will do everything I can to help Glentoran achieve success.”
Mitchell highlights the rich history and bright future of Glentoran as key to a transfer heading into the player’s prime. Mitchell scored, according to statistician Marshall Gillespie, 44 goals in 122 appearances for Glenavon following a move back to Mourneview Park in 2017.
Injury issues disrupted his influence over the past year and he exits the club his family support ready to rediscover the form which put Mitchell alongside the Irish League’s leading strikers.
“When I heard of Glentoran’s interest I was very interested in joining and am looking forward to playing for such a massive club, one with a real abundance of trophies,” said Mitchell. “I want to be part of bringing those good times back to Glentoran.
“It is a test I want to embrace, not everyone gets the chance to join a club like Glentoran so I am delighted to have the opportunity.
“I give my best every time I step out on to the pitch and will continue to do that at Glentoran, hopefully helping the club by working hard and scoring goals.
“I was in and out of the Glenavon side this season, having missed three weeks or so of pre-season due to getting married.
“Then injuries started to build and it was a really frustrating time, with a back problem impacting in recent months.
“But now I’m over it, feel fit and ready to get going at Glentoran.
“I know players like Steven Gordon and Cameron Stewart from previous times together, plus of course Caolan Marron has made the same move as me this week.
“Paul Millar was a big, big factor in making the decision to leave for Glentoran after us working together at Glenavon.
“He is someone who believes in me, I have utmost respect for Paul and his coaching advice as a former striker can also be helpful.
“I am 25 years old now coming 26 and feel I’m approaching my prime years as a striker and having now signed for one of the biggest clubs in the country.
“I just want to show on the pitch I want to give my best for the club.
“Personally, I’ve not won many trophies and want to challenge for the major honours with Glentoran.”
Mitchell, a boyhood Glenavon fan, lined out as a teenager alongside current Glentoran forward Robbie McDaid and is excited at the prospect of reuniting with his former strike partner.
“We played together for Glenavon under 18s and I remember our first game was at Seaview, I was probably 16 or 17 and Robbie was maybe 14 or 15,” said Mitchell. “You could tell even then he was a talented player and it is good to back at the same club.
“When I look back on my first season at Glenavon it was really good, I scored 20 goals, we finished third and had European football.
“I got off to a good start in my second season then picked up an injury around Christmas which put me out for six or seven weeks.
“That was crucial, it knocked me back.
“But now it is about the new challenge at Glentoran, I am feeling fit and ready to go.”