Glentoran Football Club is delighted to announce the appointment of Stephen Lowry as full time Manager of the Glentoran Academy.
Stephen has said on assuming his new position: “The academy has outgrown most local schools now in size with around 500 players on our books. Most of our main competitors are smaller in size and have a full-time director or coordinator in place. We have badly needed to catch up in this area as the last few years have been a real struggle and without our superb volunteer network which now exceeds 100 people we wouldn't have survived at the rate we were growing. When my brother David (Academy Director) and I got involved 10 years ago we had fewer than 100 players in a boys only Academy. We now have a vibrant Girls section, Disability section and Northern Ireland’s only Polish language football academy in addition to our Elite and Development boys streams in a new Football For All Policy. Most people don’t understand the massive workload in terms of admin and further development initiatives that this involves, I can remember many nights sitting to the wee small hours on the laptop, and it has required a very understanding wife at times!
My first 2 weeks in the job have been extremely busy with lots of meetings aimed at moving the academy in the right direction in several focus areas, as well as the usual pre-season prep for the season ahead. My second day in the job was a memorable one to say the least, a trip with Club Director Grahame Jenkins to Buckingham Palace in recognition of the club’s Queens Award for Voluntary Service success. My core responsibilities will involve the general management of the Academy in terms of admin and finances, and as mentioned previously further development initiatives in addition to actual football duties overseeing the Junior Boys Section. I am also committed to helping our Girls, Polish and Disability Sections stabilise and develop further. The structure of the Academy will remain exactly the same as it has been for the last few years and David Lowry is still the senior end and overall Academy Director.
On a personal note I took this role on after careful consideration with my family, despite it meaning leaving a very good job with Alpha Housing Association to whom I will always be very grateful for my time there. I have been doing this role voluntarily for the past number of years and it will be a natural transition. I am delighted that the club offered me the chance to make it my day job and I guess I could say it is my dream job so I am happy and dedicated to making a success of it. The good thing about this is that there are funding streams available for the position which do not encroach on the running of the club or the potential to sign players, etc. As a life long Glenman I know how vital it is that we get back to the top of the league table as soon as possible and the Academy is playing an extremely important role in that on various fronts.
I have plenty of football management experience and qualifications and have taken teams across Europe so hopefully I can now put this to better use being able to focus on it daily. The Lowry family has been about the Oval since the 1930s, most notably with my Grandad Sammy being a legend at the club in the 50s era, our all time leading midfield goalscorer. My dad also put in around 20 years service to the club, and his Uncles Hugh and Tommy and cousin Duncan Lowry also played for us, so it’s in the family! My aim is to make our Academy more organised, more stable financially not just in terms of sustainability but also to develop it further and to ensure our staff have the correct tools for the job to make us the best possible platform for children in football”.
We’re sure the entire Glentoran Family will wish Stephen well in his new role and will support him strongly in making his major contribution to the future success of the club.