In reality, it has been a quiet week around the league. Player of the year functions and the last big get-togethers before the players disperse for the summer period. Refresh, and re-think. With a lot of investment in certain teams over the summer, I wait in anticipation to see which players will be pushing for that big payday.
Around the clubs, I will go. A very quiet week in all for all the clubs in the Danske BankPremiership. Champions Linfield have been quiet so far but David Healy will be looking to bolster his squad sooner rather than later with the up and coming Champions League Qualifiers just over a month away. I reported last week that Marek Cervenka was being released. Might be a U-turn there as Healy rates the target man.
Ballymena United and Crusaders were quick of the mark with signings, but the last week it has been within quiet in both camps. The Sky blues will be working hard to tie down players and the Crues will be working hard to release players. One of them that might be shown the door will be Ross Holden. The young lad would be a great signing for a lot of the teams within the league.
Glentoran have had good news this week. A consortium that is wanting to invest money into the east Belfast club has had had the support of 96% of the shareholders. The offer was tabled by British-Iranian businessman, Ali Shams Mohammad Pour, who is offering to buy the club. The take-over only needed the approval of 75% of the shareholders in attendance. I can’t get my head around what is going on, but I hope for Glenmen they stay at the Oval and there is not another business adventure going on here off the pitch. Good luck to them and I hope it works out if it goes ahead.
At Warrenpoint Town, there has been a mass exodus. No fewer than eight players have left the Co. Down club this week. These include skipper and player-coach Simon Kelly, Hernany Marques, Conall McGrandles, Josh Lynch, Lee Duffy and Seanna Foster. On-loan Jarad Thompson has returned to Chelsea and Eamon Scannell has returned to the Blues. This is going to be one big summer for the ‘Point. Firstly to replace the players that have left and also to try and do better than the 10th place finish this season.
Newcomers Carrick Rangers moved quickly this week to offer a contract extension to manager Niall Currie until the end of season 2020/21. A really good move for the Co. Antrim outfit to tie him down quickly and let him build a squad for the new season.
A lot of talk is around who will be the next Coleraine manager. Kenny Shiels’ has been a name doing the rounds, but this week he took up the post of Northern Ireland senior women’s manager. Oran Kearney is the fans’ choice, but he has still a lot to play for at St Mirren with a play-off decider against Dundee United. After that would he return to Coleraine? That is the question on everyone’s lips.
The Bannsiders have also been monitoring the former Charlton Athletic striker Mikhail Kennedy who is currently training with Derry City. Cliftonville might have an interest there. The Reds also look to be taking an interest in manager Paddy McLaughlin’s old team Institute. Ryan Morrow, Aaron Jarvis and Ronan Doherty could all be players that would help bolster the Reds’ defence. The Reds have also been reported to be interested in Dungannon Swifts’ Conor McDonald. The midfielder would be a good signing for the club after the loss of Ryan Catney.
With the Glens now coming into the money, they are being heavily linked with the Sky Blues’ striker Adam Lecky and young Ards goalkeeper Sam Johnstone. The latter is a great young prospect who should be snapped up by one of the Danske Bank Premiership clubs. Lecky will be waiting to see what money is being offered.
A quiet week and I do not have every board room in the league with a wire in it. But as soon as I hear something around the scene, I will have a look into what is happening and when. I do think in the next few weeks we are going to see a lot of movers around the league as the teams all push to go that one step further next season.