Glentoran: Paul Millar ‘thanks’ to Glenavon after shock Oval return

Paul Millar has left his role as Glenavon assistant manager to join Glentoran. Pic by Pacemaker.
Paul Millar has left his role as Glenavon assistant manager to join Glentoran. Pic by Pacemaker.

Paul Millar is returning to Glentoran after ‘seven wonderful years’ at Glenavon.

The former Glens player and manager will join the Oval management team in a role still to be defined but one linked to a decades-long friendship with recently-appointed head coach Mick McDermott.

It marks the end to a successful association with Glenavon which Millar describes as “seven wonderful years” but the combination of his friendship with McDermott and the potential of Glentoran’s return to power as the club awaits confirmation of significant foreign investment proved too strong a lure.

“I’ve known Mick for over 20 years since we met on a coaching course and over the years our families have spent time together and I would visit him,” said Millar. “It was a really tough call to make and I want to place on record my thanks to everyone at Glenavon, from top to bottom, for what I consider lifelong friendships.

“At the minute, I’m not going in as assistant manager, first-team coach or any other specific role, instead it’s about offering help in whatever way I can.

“This week alone I’m watching Glentoran’s under 20s, going to first-team training and preparing a scouting report for the weekend game with Dungannon Swifts.

“I’ll be in the dug-out on Saturday but, really, at this stage it’s not about specifics.

“Mick has extensive experience in the global game but outside Northern Ireland and I bring 37 years of football to the table, most within the Irish League.

“I’ve been involved in most roles within the game and have no desire to be a manager but enjoy other parts of football.

“I’ve interests in a wide range, from helping with signings and working on contracts to coaching or just talking to players.”

Glentoran’s potential for European football forced an exit as manager by Gary Smyth due to a lack of qualifications then the swift confirmation of McDermott.

“We have five league games left and the potential of Europe so Glentoran needed someone in place with the right qualifications,” said Millar. “Mick asked me to come on board to help out, without putting any role in a box.

“I spoke to the Glenavon players after Tuesday’s Mid-Ulster Cup final and then the club chairman and directors.

“I leave Glenavon looking back on seven years and a journey that started with the club fighting relegation to then qualifying for Europe and winning trophies.

“I remember players coming in at 15 years old to develop into the firsts or go across the water into professional football.

“I’ve worked with Gary Hamilton, watching him come into the job as an inexperienced young manager and grow into an experienced and successful manager.

“Gary was the first person I spoke to about the Glentoran situation.

“There is no good time to go but the European deadlines dictated Glentoran move to appoint Mick and I take some comfort from leaving Glenavon with the club in the middle of a good run of results and before the start of the post-split run of games.

“Initially at Glentoran it is simply a case of helping out Mick as someone I’ve known and respected for so long.”