With everyone away from the Oval for an undetermined period, we have decided to bring Glentoran supporters some of the most compelling content from the multi award winning Glentoran Gazette. We hope you will enjoy the stories and player interviews we bring and that it will encourage you to buy a Gazette at our home matches when football returns. Many thanks to the Glentoran Supporters Committee (1923) for use of this material. The "250 Club" series will consist of interviews with current squad members with Eddy Patrick this season.
Played 1972-1973 and 1980- 1995
In your 517 appearances for the Glens with would you say was your best ever game?
Probably the most memorable game and the one people always ask about would be against Linfield in the Road Ferry League Cup Final and scoring the winning goal. When it comes to making saves, the European game against Lokomotiv Leipzig away always comes to mind and games during the run of clean sheets we put together during the 1987/88 League winning season, falling just short of the record number of minutes without conceding.
Have you a few favourite saves that you are particularly proud of?
Several saves for the League of Ireland in the game against Argentina in 1980 which we lost 1-0. The final must win League game against Coleraine at the Showgrounds in the 1987/88 double winning season, managing to get my hand to close range header deflecting the ball on to the cross bar and after untangling myself from defenders and strikers to save the follow up.
Even all the great goalkeepers have the odd clanger in their career, is there one that haunts you?
Yes, you’re right, clangers do happen to goalkeepers and I had a few. The one that comes to mind was against Linfield at Windsor Park, the year the new back pass rule first came in and there was still confusion as to what was a legal back pass and what wasn’t. I think it was Gary Smyth who knocked the ball back high in the air. Should I catch it, head it away or try to control it? Unfortunately I went for the latter, not a good idea, and the ball bounced away off my foot to the on rushing Linfield forward who tucked it into the net (maybe Pat Fenlon?). I think we ended up losing the game 3-2.
It wasn’t that long ago that Elliott Morris overtook you as longest serving goalkeeper for the Glens. What is your opinion of him?
You don’t make over 700 appearances for any club unless you perform at the highest level every week. I have watched Elliott in many games and he always proved to be up there with the best to pull on the Glentoran jersey. But I think I just pip him in the goals per game ratio of 1 in 517!
The clash with Billy Millen that led to Alan's infamous injury in the 1973 Irish Cup Final v Linfield
Have you seen much of our latest keeper Marijan Antolovic?
So far only in the game against Larne at Inver Park. Marijan made three or four excellent saves that night at vital times and looks like an excellent addition to the team.
What is the best save you’ve ever seen?
It has to be the Gordon Banks save from the Pele header in the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.
Who were your goalkeeping heroes when growing up?
Pat Jennings and Lev Yashin, the Russian goalkeeper.
In training whose shot was hardest to stop?
On some training nights any shot, but I would say probably the likes of Gerry Mullan, Jim Cleary and Ron Manley.
Are you still involved with Radio Ulster?
I would still be asked to cover the odd game.
What else are you up to nowadays and what do you miss most about playing?
I’m more involved with golf, both in my job and leisure time. I miss the build up and atmosphere for the big games, winning trophies, European nights home and away, the craic within the dressing room and scoring in the 5-a-side matches during training. And beating George Neill over 100 yards (well the odd time).
Alan in his third and final League Championship winning team, in 1991-1992