Q Radio Sport
Paul McLean, managing director of Bet McLean, Northern Ireland’s largest independent bookmaking company, has announced a major new sponsorship agreement with Glentoran FC which involves the renaming of the club's historic stadium as the BetMcLean Oval.
The agreement, worth £250,000 over the next five years with a five year option, is believed to be the biggest sponsorship deal ever reached with a football club in Northern Ireland.
Mr McLean said: “Hopefully this signals the start of a successful era for Glentoran FC, and I’m delighted to be playing my part as the club looks to the future.”
BREAKING@Glentoran sign what's thought to be the biggest sponsorship deal in Irish League history - a £250,000 package with @Bet_McLean for the naming rights of their stadium, now the BetMcLean Oval— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) August 25, 2021
The latest stage in a remarkable transformation
Here's sponsor Paul McLean: pic.twitter.com/upSvqxcYnd
The agreement was signed off in the club’s boardroom by Mr McLean and the Glentoran chairman, Stephen Henderson. BetMcLean has been the club’s chief sponsor for almost 10 years, but Wednesday's announcement confirmed the financial relationship has moved to a completely new level.
Glentoran’s first home Premiership match of the season at the BetMcLean Oval will be against Ballymena United on Friday September 10th
BetMcLean has more than 6O shops across Northern Ireland, 10 of them in North Down and east Belfast where Glentoran have been based since the foundation of the club in 1882. The Oval opened 10 years later.
The stadium was badly damaged during the German air raids on Belfast in 1941 and did not re-open until 1949. The main grandstand was built in 1953.
Planning applications have been lodged for a massive upgrade of the stadium.
Mr McLean added: “The past few years have been a roller coaster ride for Glentoran. There have been many ups and downs but I believe this is the perfect time for me to cement our relationship with the club, especially with a new owner, and as it progresses into the professional era.
“Hopefully in the next year or so we will see the BetMcLean Oval fully modernised and upgraded and become a showpiece stadium and the home of a great club with such an amazing footballing history.”
BetMcLean already sponsor the League Cup.
Mr McLean said: “We’re proud to invest in all types of local sport, and this arrangement strengthens our commitment to support football in Northern Ireland.”
Glens chairman Stephen Henderson, sponsor Paul McLean, assistant manager Paul Millar along with players Ciaran O'Connor and Patrick McClean.
Also present at today’s announcement in the new Captains Lounge were Mr Henderson, Head Coach Mick Michael McDermott, his assistant Paul Millar and a number of first team players.
The Chairman said he was delighted with the new agreement, especially as Bet McLean had been so supportive during some difficult and challenging years for Glentoran.
He added: “Paul stood firmly by the club and saw us through some dark times as we rescued, stabilised and restructured the club to enable us in turn to attract the investment that has come from Ali Pour.
“Paul and his firm continued to stand by the club as we entered a phase of building and transitioning to full time football. Now they have once again, very publicly stood by the club by signing the most lucrative sponsorship agreement in our history, and quite possibly the biggest for a football club in Northern Ireland.
“By aligning their brand with Glentoran for the next five years, BetMcLean are sending a clear signal of their confidence in the direction which this club is travelling. All of us, from the board, the manager and the players, hope to repay that faith by working to achieve trophy success.
“The Bet McLean partnership will help us continue our attempts to recruit the best possible players across our men and women’s teams and bring them to the BetMcLean Oval.
“In particular I would like to pay tribute to Paul McLean who, time after time, has proven himself to be a true friend of Glentoran FC through not only his sponsorship but also his advice, business acumen and moral support, all freely given to help our club rise again and realise our potential.
The @Glentoran chairman Stephen Henderson welcomes record 250,000k sponsorship deal with @Bet_McLean👇— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) August 25, 2021
The Glens' iconic home ground in east Belfast will now be known as the BetMcLean Oval
Planning applications have been lodged for a multi-million pound upgrade of the stadium: pic.twitter.com/CbYoPBGgMH
Mick McDermott said Glentoran’s relationship with BetMcLean existed long before his arrival.
He added: “I am well aware of the support Paul McLean has provided over that period.
“The new era for Glentoran started over two years ago and BetMcLean has been with us since that journey began. We are now moving into exciting times with our Premiership squad and it is equally exciting to renew the strong association we have with BetMcLean, and Paul McLean is very eager to develop that partnership in the years ahead.”