Glenavon set for Sunday service

Michael Scott


Michael Scott


Glenavon are set to play league football on a Sunday for the first time next season after a proposal was carried at the club’s annual general meeting.

The Northern Ireland Football League has been asking clubs for their views on the subject, following the success of last year’s League Cup final between Cliftonville and Coleraine, which was played on a Sunday had a record attendance.

It is believed that most clubs in the league have indicated a willingness to play on a Sunday.

With this 2023 League Cup final also set to be played on a Sunday, it is believed that any teams who were not willing to play on a Sunday would be excused from entering the competition.

Speaking after the meeting, Glenavon chairman Adrian Teer said, “This was an ideal opportunity to speak to the shareholders and ticket holders and see what the opinion was.

“With the exception of two people at the meeting, they were prepared to back a proposal to play one home game and one away game next season to see how it goes in relation to attendances.”

It won’t be the first time that the club has played on a Sunday, with the club having played a handful of friendlies on that particular day of the week, including in the Stena Cup in Stranraer.

The meeting also heard how the club is at the very early stages of exploring the possibility of installing a 4G pitch, with Mr Teer saying that the club had discussed it at board level and with manager, Gary Hamilton.

However, he added that those discussions were happening “reluctantly”.

“The number of artificial pitches in the Premiership looks like increasing, to the extent that maybe half the teams in the league have them,” Mr Teer said.

“You have to wonder if we need to join them? There’s a distinct advantage to playing and training regularly on a synthetic surface.

“Gary, who was steadfastly against this, is now coming round to that way of thinking. For instance, for the first time, we have a number of pre-season friendlies where we are going to be playing on an artificial pitch as he wants his players to get used to it.”

Supporters also received an update on how the club was doing financially, with Mr Teer saying that thanks to being prudent the club was in a “healthy” position.

Despite that, they had still been able to increase Hamilton’s budget for bringing players in although the manager told the meeting about the difficulties he was having in attracting players.

“As you’ve got four full-time teams offering full-time prospects and full-time money to players, that’s very hard to compete with,” the chairman elaborated.

“We can’t compete with it with our current level of income, the size of our support base and certainly our income at the moment.

“Our priority is to put as much money into the playing side of the club as is possible. We now have enough money to run the club. Any additional money, from wherever we get it, can go into the players’ budget. That will be a big help.”

He appealed for anyone who would be interested in investing in the club to come forward.

“Anybody out there, whether it be a businessman or an investor, we will talk to them, but we won’t sell the soul of the club.

“We had the chance to do that a few years ago and the shareholders, quite sensibly, said no.

“But we have to be open-minded and if there is an investor out there who has the best interest of this football club at heart and the board and the shareholders sees it that way then certainly we will entertain them.”

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