|The Oval isn't the only
ground Glentoran have played at.
They have played at six grounds in total:-
1882 to 1886 - Ormeau Park
1886 to 1890 - King's Field, Westbourne, Ballymacarret
1892 to 1892 - Musgrave Park
1892 to 1903 - The Oval, Dee Street
1903 - to present The Oval. The pitch was rotated to
90 degrees and is the present day Oval
During the war Grosvenor Park was used as a temporary
home due the the bomb damage at the Oval
|The Oval has been home
to Glentoran since 1892 and has seen some of the world's
greatest grace it's pitch but it has also seen some devastating
events no more so than the period from 1941 - 53.
In 1941 Belfast and Harland & Wolff shipbuilders
was a main strategic target for the Nazi bombers as
it continued to produce 3 ships per week for the Royal
Belfast had come under fierce bombing raids from German
Heinkel and Dornier bombers targeting the shipyard but
East Belfast suffered with Ballymacarret taking the
full force of the raids. The Oval was caught and everything
was destroyed. The pitch, terracing, stands, offices,
playing kit and club records. However the main focus
was not on football but on the devastation to life and
|Once the clean up began
and a certain normality was regained Glentoran soon realised
that this was a devastating blow. Other clubs rallied
round and came to the Glens aid and with Crusaders, and
Distillery lending kits the season was completed with
the Glens finishing third.
With the club losing everything the shareholders and
directors faced a dilemma in the 1941 close season.
Without a ground the options ranged from sharing a ground,joing
the intermediate league or resigning from
from football altogether for the duration of the war.
The board of directors were split on the issue and at
an extra ordinary meeting it took the casting vote of
the chairman Johnny Mercer to continue in senior football.
Distillery were approached for the use of Grosvenor
Park and the club would now use Grosvenor Park until
Plans were soon made for the return to the Oval with a
main two tier stand and covered terracing envisaged. A
"Back to The Oval" committee was formed and
they began to raise funds for the return to the Oval.
In 1947/48 the Oval pitch had been resurfaced but the
directors decided to remain at Grosvenor Park for one
more season as other repairs had to be made. Fund raising
games continued against Preston,St Mirren, and in 1948/49
the transfers of Danny Blanchflower to Barnsley and
Bertie Peacock to Celtic raised further funds and Glentoran
finished the season with matches against St Mirren and
Everton for the Back to the Oval Fund.
In 1949/50 it was time to return to the oval and with
over £20,000 having been spent refurbishing the
ground of which the majority had been raised by supporters
and the back to the Oval committee. On August 20th 1949
Linfield were the visitors for the first match at the
Oval in the City Cup. A crowd of 25,000 witnessed an
historic day in a 3-2 win for Linfield but it didn't
matter as the Glens were back home.
|The Glens first victory
back at the Oval came against Cliftonville in the Gold
Cup the same week. The scouts were out in force from Bolton,
Tottenham, Burnley and Sheffield Wednesday to view a 2-0
over Derry and
a week latter Jimmy McIlroy was transfered to Burnley.
Friendlies against Doncaster, St Mirren and Arsenal provided
further funds towards reconstruction of the Oval.
and the transfers of Billy Bingham to Sunderland in 1950
and Frank Mulholland in 1951 provided more vital funds.
In 1953 the work was finally completed on the main grandstand
and it was opened with a 2,600 capacity in an Ulster Cup
game against Cliftonville.
At the time it was the finest stadium in Great Britan.
Recent developments have seen a revamp of the Oval
with a 2,400 seater stand added for visiting spectators
and a new family section in the lower tier.