Glenavon confirm departure of manager Gary Hamilton after almost 12 years in charge

Gary Hamilton. PIC: David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Gary Hamilton. PIC: David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Hamilton signed a contract extension in March 2021 that would extend his stay in the Mourneview Park hot-seat to the end of the 2024/25 campaign, but after picking up just four points from their opening seven Premiership matches of this season, the Lurgan Blues board have decided a change was needed.

A statement issued on Wednesday night read: “Glenavon Football Club confirms that following discussions during this week Gary Hamilton has vacated the post of Manager with immediate effect.

“The Board of Directors sincerely thanks Gary for his 12 years as Manager. The Hamilton era included many memorable moments which will be part of our Club’s history including two Irish Cup triumphs, four third-place finishes in the Premiership and European qualification on four occasions.

“The Board wishes Gary every good fortune in the future.

“As a consequence of Gary Hamilton’s departure Assistant Manager Paul McAreavey and coaches Mark Ferguson and Chris Atkinson have resigned. The club thanks them for their services.”

Hamilton was named player-manager in December 2011 following the resignation of Marty Quinn and guided Glenavon to Irish Cup success in 2013/14 before repeating the feat once again in 2015/16.

The 42-year-old also led the club to four third-placed Premiership finishes during his tenure, including in 2017/18, which secured their progress to the first round of Europa League qualifying where they famously defeated Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Molde at Mourneview Park.

Hamilton had a superb record for developing young players during his reign with the likes of Bobby Burns, Mark Sykes and Josh Daniels all earning moves across the water after working with the former Portadown and Glentoran striker.

With the Irish League landscape changing dramatically due to increased investment within the top-flight, Hamilton has consistently had to deal with losing a number of his best players – something which happened again this summer as top-scorer Matthew Fitzpatrick departed for Linfield.

He guided the club to a seventh-placed finish in each of the last four seasons – the final European play-off spot – and finished inside the top seven in 10 of his 11 full campaigns in charge.

Hamilton’s tenure is the second-longest of any Glenavon manager behind Jimmy McAlinden (March 1954 – April 1968) and the club thanked him for his service.