Glentoran owner Ali Shams Pour hints at 'new-look' squad as he blasts 'unacceptable' season

Photo of Glentoran owner Ali Shams Pour
-Credit: (Image: Glentoran FC)


Ali Shams Pour has hit out at Glentoran's "totally unacceptable" season as he hinted at a fresh approach to Declan Devine's first-team. The Glens finished fifth in the Premiership, 30 points off champions Larne and also missed out on Europe.

It was another miserable campaign that was punctuated by the departure of Warren Feeney in March, with Devine coming in on an interim basis before the move was made permanent in April.

Pour says he is "still in shock" over the team's failings on the pitch, but insists he remains confident that experienced Devine can improve results - and deliver trophies.

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He told Belfast Live: "Last season was hugely frustrating. It was heartbreaking to end up where we did. We did all the right things when it came to players. We bought outstanding players, on paper. Just as a team, it didn't work out.

"The league suddenly became too far away to win, but I thought the Irish Cup was a realistic target. To see Cliftonville win the cup, that should have been us, really. And to not qualify for Europe was difficult.

"Finishing 30 points off Larne is a huge gap, and totally unacceptable."

Since arriving at the Oval in 2019, Pour has invested a reported £3m in Glentoran, dragging the club from the depths of financial ruin to the relatively secure position they are in now.

However, the men's first-team results on the pitch haven't mirrored the club's progress in other departments, including a successful women's team who won their Premiership title, and a burgeoning Academy which continues to develop young players who have earned moves across the water.

Five years on from taking over as owner, Pour admits it has been a "rollercoaster" ride.

He added: "It is the nature of the business. This is football. Who would have known the way things turned out.

"I remain very optimistic. Declan (Devine) brings in a wealth of experience. That is experience we need when it comes to rebuilding and performing on the biggest stage.

"I am quite optimistic for the season ahead. We have been talking to players already about new contracts and potential new signings. It will be a busy few months ahead."

Pour hinted at Glentoran adopting a new approach to first-team recruitment, ditching the old, and failed, method of spending big on marquee signings and replacing it with a younger, fresher DNA.

He also welcomed new manager Devine's straight-talking approach after the former Derry City and Bohemians boss publicly lambasted some of Glentoran's under-performing players during last season's run-in.

"Declan is very straight talking, and that's what we need. And I think he was correct in most of the things he said. And don't forget this is a manager who hasn't been able to build his own team yet," he said.

"Both Declan and Warren inherited a squad from before which is never easy. But it is another new dawn, and we have two months to get ourselves ready.

Photo showing Glentoran manager Declan Devine
Glentoran manager Declan Devine -Credit:INPHO/Stephen Hamilton

"It will be a big summer of change, playing wise. Contracts were up on a number of players who have moved on. We may well look at changing the format of the team, in bringing in younger players. Fitter, hungrier players to play alongside the more experienced ones.

"That might be the new look of Glentoran this season."

One high-profile signing who failed to make the grade at the Oval was Shay McCartan. The former Northern Ireland international joined the Glens from Ballymena United back in 2021 in a club record transfer reportedly worth over £100,000.

The 30-year-old failed to sparkle on Mersey Street, and was released at the end of this season before joining newly-promoted Portadown.

Asked if the McCartan signing was a harsh lesson learned, Pour said: "Each player was judged on their own merits and performances. Shay's contract was up and he moved on."

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