Glentoran FC

The Official website of Glentoran Football Club / Pride of East Belfast 



Legend's XI : Paul Leeman

Thu, 02/07/2020 - 02:17

This is the seventh in a series where notable Glentoran players of the past name the team they would pick from the players they played alongside during their careers in the Irish League.


(Played 1996-2011)

Very few Glentoran captains get to lift the Gibson Cup twice, but that's a distinction only Paul Leeman can boast in the past half century.

In fact you could say he lifted it three times as captain, including the one he lifted "jointly" with Chris Walker in 2003. That surely makes him one of the most successful - if not THE most successful - captains in Glentoran's 138 years.

Leeper, raised in Mersey Street and from a Glentoran lineage going back four generations, epitomises what it means to be a Glenman.  He made his first team debut as an 18-year old in the last league game of the 1995-96 season alongside his Ashfield classmates Andy Kirk and Stuart Elliott. Starting as a right back, then a central midfielder, before settling down for a long career at centre back, Paul went on to make 597 appearances for the club, scoring 43 goals. In his 15 seasons he won an incredible 19 medals, including 4 league titles and 3 Irish Cups. Then to cap it off he won a fifth Gibson Cup with Crusaders after being deemed surplus to requirements at the Oval. One of the most popular players ever to play for Glentoran.

The one distinction Leeper will want to lose is the distinction of being the most recent Glens captain to lift the Premiership trophy.


Goalkeeper - Elliott Morris

Tremendous servant to Glentoran, 18 years at the Club now and as loyal as they come. For me Elliott has been the best Goalkeeper in the League over his whole career here. A fantastic team mate, good friend and an outstanding Goalkeeper.

Right Back - Colin Nixon

Club Legend, record appearance maker and another superb player. Although a great defender Nicky loved to get forward and scored some massive goals for Glentoran over the years. Alliansi away will live long in the memory! We enjoyed some great successful times together at Glentoran

Left Back- Mark Glendinning

Superb no nonsense defender with a great attitude and application to improve and win. I learned so much from Sas in terms of the attitude and work ethic required to play at our level for a long time. Scored almost 100 goals in his career aswell which for a full back is outstanding. Always so humble and modest but for me he’s one of the Irish League Greats!

Centre Back- John Devine

Another Legend and a great leader. John was Captain when I broke in to the team and always encouraged me and the other young players. Great composed footballer, fantastic in the air and again scored some important goals. Season 98/99 he was outstanding as we won the league. Hasn’t bought a drink since then either though!

Centre Back- Gary Smyth

A great Glen man who also became a very good friend. Naturally left sided centre half, superb in the air and again a great leader to have in your team. Season 2002/03 must rank as his best ever, he was superb defensively and also scored some great goals along the way.

Right Midfield- Tim McCann

Tim was a fantastic player, an old fashioned style winger who linked up superbly with Nicky. Always gave 100%, hated losing and was a great team mate. Loved a sing song and always life and soul of the many parties we had!

Centre Mid- Darren Lockhart

Outstanding player, had so much to his game as a midfielder including physicality and goals. Another local lad who I grew up beside so to end up playing for Glentoran and being successful together for several years was great for us and our families. Still a close friend to this day

Centre Midfield - Scott Young

Scott was a very talented ball playing midfielder, full of confidence, never afraid to take responsibility and was very popular amongst the fans. Loved to wind everyone up and a real character in the dressing room. Sadly his career was cut short by injury but thankfully he enjoyed some great times with Glentoran

Left Midfield- Stuart Elliott

Stuart and I grew up together in Mersey St and then broke through the ranks at the Glens together. A very talented player with pace and an eye for goal who went on to bigger things with Motherwell and Hull as well as representing his country many times. A superb career

Striker- Darren Armour

I always put Darren in my team for his sheer work ethic. Unsung hero who ran all day but could also play and score goals. Nicknamed Dangerous DA by the lads and was willing to do anything Locky told him including emptying Mickey Collins early on in a certain game!

Striker - Gary Hamilton

Gary was one of the most naturally gifted players I played with at the Glens. He had an excellent goal record and his football brain was way above others. Could turn the game whenever he wanted, he was that good!


Chris Walker

Another great player and massive character. Wore his heart on his sleeve and for me was always encouraging

Michael O’Neill

Came back from Scotland and in his first season was a level above everyone. Knew the game inside out and was a great addition to Glentoran

Justin McBride

Should be remembered as a great player for Glentoran. Justy was a real quality player, had an excellent goals and assists record but like big John hasn’t bought a drink in years!

Michael Halliday

The man for the big occasion! Whole hearted consistent performer and a brilliant team mate. Loved to score against the Blues so gave us all some great moments

So many legends in my list but above all most of these guys were Glen men, loved the club, played for the shirt and were so committed, something we see less and less of today. I was blessed to share a pitch with so many great players