Irish Premiership: Glentoran boss Mick McDermott bemoans 'third world' football facilities in NI

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" We are a third world county when it comes to football facilities" - McDermott

Glentoran manager Mick McDermott has urged the Department for Communities to follow through on the sub-regional stadia funding as allocated in 2015.

Five years ago, £36m was designated to the sub-regional programme for local football, with Glentoran set to receive £10m.

"The reality is we're a third world country when it comes to football facilities," said McDermott.

"This is a time that the government can step in to help all clubs."

The collapse of the Executive in 2017 left the programme in limbo, with hopes of the funding rejuvenated following the recent return to power-sharing to Stormont earlier this month.

Glentoran were set to be the chief benefactors of the initial programme, while other Irish Premiership clubs were invited to bid for a share of £17m that had been set aside for stadium improvements.

Earlier this week the Department for Communities said a fresh consultation needed to take place, given the changes that have occurred in football since 2015.

"I think it's an unnecessary delay," said McDermott.

"Our hope, and the hope of all football followers in the country, is that we don't need that consultation.

"I've been fortunate enough to travel around the world over the last 25 years, I've come back here and the product on the pitch is brilliant.

"The Irish League clubs are massive community hubs, they are in dire need of upgrading their facilities."

2015 funding allocation 'based on need and sustainability'

The Oval
The Oval was set to receive a £10m investment from Stormont's sub-regional programme for local football

For Glentoran, the £10m investment was to go towards ensuring that the Oval could host up to 8,000 spectators on matchdays.

Last July a UK-based consortium took over the Glens however McDermott, himself part of the consortium, rejected the notion that the new influx of money lessens the Glens' need for government funding.

"The money that was suggested at that time was based on need, it's not just what's fair. Glentoran was going to get more, that's based on need and sustainability," McDermott said.

"A team that gets 1,000 fans at the weekend surely doesn't need the same level of investment as a team that gets 6,000.

"To lose out on funding because we now have an investor would be harsh on Glentoran.

"This is money for all football here, our friends in north Belfast, Crusaders and Cliftonville, are in need of money, Glentoran is in need of money, our friends in the north-west are in need of money so this is not just about Glentoran."

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