Belfast born Mick McDermott is the surprise replacement for Glentoran’s outgoing and much loved Head Coach Gary Smyth.
His appointment was announced Sunday night much to the surprise of the fans of the Glens considering McDermott hasn’t lived in the country since he took up a football scholarship at Rhode Island in the US, where he continued to play in the third tier in the USA football league until his retirement in 2002.
However, even though he hasn’t been involved in the Irish League for many years, he has earned his management and coaching stripes at numerous clubs abroad. He became assistant manager at Connecticut Wolves immediately after retirement due to his playing experience and also the BSc in Physical Education he earned during his university scholarship. He also completed the US equivalent of UEFA’s A licence. He went onto to hold coaching positions at Quinnipiac University, Connecticut and Oregon State University before moving to the UAE to become United Arab Emirates league champions Al Ain’s fitness coach in2006.
It was here he got to work alongside current Brazil manager Tite and legendary Italian goalkeeper Walter Zenga, both of whom held the management positions for a short time back in 2006- 2007.
45 year old McDermott, then made a move to the Iranian national team after ex Portugal manager Queiroz was appointed in 2011 who brought with him, his former coach Dan Gaspar who he met at Connecticut Wolves joined Queiroz as goalkeeping coach just as he had when Queiroz was in charge at Portugal. McDermott left the Iranian coaching team to take an assistant coaching position at the UAE team, Al-Nasr Sports Club, before returning to work with Queiroz at Iran during the 2018 World Cup.
Queiroz was appointed Columbia manager in February this year after deciding not to renew his contract with Iran so McDermott went with him to Columbia but has confirmed he will not be staying for this summer’s Copa America tournament as he “couldn’t turn down this exciting and challenging opportunity to rebuild” Glentoran.
He has spoke of his long term plans for the club from challenging for titles to bringing full-time football to the club.
Glentoran have just six games left this season, the question is, can McDermott make an impact straight away to help the them qualify for Europe? We will have to watch this space!