Irish Premiership: Leeman follows Smyth out of Glentoran

Paul Leeman and Gary Smyth
Paul Leeman won four league titles and Gary Smyth two during their playing careers with Glentoran

First-team coach Paul Leeman has left Glentoran a day after assistant manager Gary Smyth quit the east Belfast club.

Leeman rejoined the club last May with former Glens team-mate Smyth, who took over as manager after Ronnie McFall's resignation in January.

Smyth was replaced by Mick McDermott in March although he and Leeman were offered the chance to stay.

"Sadly, they declined to be part of the next stage of the club's development," said Glentoran.

McDermott was brought in as Smyth did not have the necessary coaching badges to manage the Glens in European football.

Since then, neither Smyth nor Leeman were involved in the running of the club, with McDermott recruiting Glenavon assistant Paul Millar to his backroom team.

McDermott guided the team to the Europa League play-offs final before losing out to Cliftonville
McDermott guided the team to the Europa League play-offs final before losing out to Cliftonville

The new manager is also a key figure in the proposed takeover of the club from British-based entrepreneur Ali Shams Mohammad Pour, who hails from Iranian descent.

The consortium promises to bring millions in investment on and off the pitch to the east Belfast outfit after the deal was ratified by Glentoran shareholders at last week's EGM.

"On the appointment of Mick McDermott as Head Coach both Paul and Gary Smyth were offered and encouraged to accept continued employment on the same terms as before while supported by the club in securing their necessary coaching qualifications," the club added.

"Everyone within the club deeply regrets their decision. We respect and thank both Paul and Gary for the great part they played for Glentoran as players.

"We also thank them for their work within the management team over the past season. They will always be welcome at the Oval."

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