Boss Gaston poised to come out of retirement

By Neil McKnight

Ballymoney United boss Paul Gaston might be about to dust off his boots and sensationally come out of retirement.

The former Coleraine legend has revealed to the Times that he is seriously considering a return to action in a player-manager role.

Gaston has been at the helm at United for six weeks and believes he could help his young charges by bringing some much-needed experience to the side.

The 37-year-old retired from Coleraine in 2007 after playing a staggering 600 games for the club and would provide a timely boost for Ballymoney after they lost to Portstewart at the weekend.

Gaston is mulling over the option after being persuaded by assistant manager Ronnie McDowell that he could still be a threat as a player.

The ex-Irish League hero was renowned for his defensive prowess but believes he could make an impact by coming off the bench to play upfront.

He had played several games for Glebe Old Boys before taking the Ballymoney hot seat last month.

He said: “I’m tempted to be a player-manager to give the players a hand.

“I started out as a striker then became a centre half. I could give experience.

“I scored 70 to 80 goals for Coleraine, although I wouldn’t be fit enough to start a match.

“I think I could just give something different and a physical presence upfront.”

Gaston was speaking after reflecting on an undeserved 2-1 defeat away to Portstewart on Saturday.

Ballymoney dominated the game but somehow managed to end up on the losing side after squandering a number of opportunities.

Ballymoney started brightly and could have went in at half-time several goals ahead.

They did however break the deadlock when Trevor McLernon netted on 60 minutes.

But once United took the lead they seemed to relax and lose their concentration which let Portstewart back into the match.

And the game changed on its head when the home side were awarded a controversial penalty.

That was converted and then Portstewart snatched victory with an 89th-minute winner.

Gaston said: “All the boys are disappointed but that’s the way football goes sometimes.

“Anyone at that match would not believe we were the beaten team.

“We created so many chances but we have to put them away.

“It was so disappointing and I couldn’t see them scoring.

“In the first half I thought if we get one we will win by two or three.”

He added: “We dominated the game but did not get any luck. The penalty was harsh and their players weren’t even calling for it. We had a penalty claim that wasn’t given our way.

“Their penalty was the turning point of the match, however we’ve got to be positive as we’re still creating chances.”

The defeat was Gaston’s third in the Belfast Telegraph Championship Two.

Four victories have given him 12 points out of a possible 21 and he will now look to add to his squad in the January transfer window.

He said: “I will probably bring in a couple of players in January to freshen the squad up. It’s a very young squad.”

Ballymoney have no game this weekend as they were given a bye in the Intermediate Cup and are into the next round. The following weekend United are at home to Belfast side Knockbreda.