Football/Soccer

Glentoran will keep chasing the best despite Cliftonville 'no' to Joe Gormley transfer bid

Cliftonville have rejected a £60,000 bid for Joe Gormley
Andy Watters

JOE Gormley is “not for sale” confirmed Cliftonville chairman Gerard Lawlor emphatically last night after the Belfast Reds rejected a record-breaking offer from Glentoran for their record-breaking striker.

The Glens, three points ahead of the County Antrim Shield winners in the Irish Premiership table, made a bid of £60,000 for goal-machine Gormley (the previous record was the £55,000 Linfield paid Glenavon for striker Glen Ferguson back in 2012) but it has been quickly rejected after dialogue between club and player.

Gormley netted 85 goals in 133 league appearances for the Reds between 2011 and 2015 when he left for an injury-ruined spell in England with Peterborough United. He returned to Solitude in 2017 and picked up where he left off and is now under contract at the north Belfast club until 2023.

“We did have a bid,” Lawlor told The Irish News.

“The club has no interest. We've spoken to the player, the player has no interest and we've told Glentoran so as far as we're concerned, the matter is now closed.

“Joe Gormley is not for sale. It's very simple.”

A seperate £60,000 bid from Glentoran for Ballymena United striker Adam Lecky remains on the table. The bid for Lecky is believed to be the third from the Glens during January and manager Mick McDermott is still hoping to bring Lecky to the Oval.

He has given up hope on signing Gormley but says he will continue to try and recruit the best players available as his side chases a first league title since 2009.

“It (the Gormley transfer) won't happen,” McDermott told The Irish News.

“Gerard (Lawlor) is not letting him go and I don't believe Joe wants to come. I think that one is dead in the water.”

Well-travelled McDermott, assistant-manager of Iran at the last World Cup, has ambitions plans for the east Belfast club he took over at the start of this season. His Glentoran side are on an 11-match unbeaten streak and a run of six wins on-the-trot has seen them take the lead in the Danske Bank Premiership.

“We've said since the beginning that if there are players available who can improve our squad then we'll be in the market for them,” he said.

“These two might not be available but it doesn't mean we can't ask the question. You have to ask the question because in football days are like months and if you miss an opportunity it's gone.

“You can't stand still in this business and every team in the league is the same. It's the transfer window and every team in the league is looking at players.”

Breaking the existing Northern Ireland transfer record was not an issue for McDermott who side has netted 53 times in 25 league games this season.

“If it makes sense you have to do it,” he said.

“And if it doesn't meet their valuation then that's understandable, it's their asset that they are trying to protect. That's the way the business works.”

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Football/Soccer