The Glentoran Legends first came together in the summer of 2008, when Growsport, a local sports promotion company, announced they would be hosting a Legends tournament at the Oval, consisting of Legends teams from Glentoran, Linfield, Manchester United and Liverpool. The Glentoran Legends XI was entrusted into the hands of Billy Caskey, who in turn enlisted the help of Philip Stevenson of the Glentoran Supporters Committee (1923) to bring together a squad of ex-Glentoran players to represent the club in what would be known as the Belfast Cup.
That first Glentoran Legends squad contained many of the most illustrious names from Glentoran's recent history – including Jim Cleary, Johnny Jameson, Barney Bowers, Liam Coyle, Gary Blackledge, Chris Walker and Gary Smyth. This experience sowed the seeds for a Glentoran Legends XI to come together to play on a regular basis.
Since then and for 15 years now. The Legends have come together on a regular basis to play matches in support of local charities. A kit was designed with the Glentoran Gazette as the shirt sponsor with a new dedicated badge designed by Clifford Logan. The Glentoran Legends XI was born!
Since that summer of 2008 the Glentoran Legends XI have regularly played all around the country helping many worthy causes along the way.
In recent years the Glentoran Legends have played innumerable matches with innumerable Glentoran greats lending their support and donning their boots again. They have faced sides from Donegal Celtic, Derry City, Crusaders, Portadown and Linfield along with many local junior sides. Plus a couple of trips to Scotland for games organised by ex-Glens striker Derek Cook. The games have seen countless thousands raised in those years for a wide range of deserving charities.
Many have donned the Legends shirt in those three years, with guys who had played for the shirt throughout the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and even the noughties. The names roll off the tongue with regulars such as McCreery, Cleary, Caskey, Bowers, Blackledge, Leeman (Paul & Tommy), Devine, Smyth, Jamison, Jameson, Macartney, Morrison, Lockhart, McCann, Moore, Walsh, Batey, Mathieson, Robson, Moreland, Hillis, Liam Coyle, Glendinning, Rainey, Parker, Hill. Hillis, Parker, Gracey, Finlay and Hunter. The most recent recruits have been our 743-appearance keeper Elliott Morris and the ultimate Glentoran Women’s legend Kelly Baillie.
The legs might not be able to do the things of old but the skill and ability still remains and above all the pride in wearing the Green, Red and Black will always be there. Long may it continue. Keep an eye out for a game near you!