Pat McGibbon has accepted a two-year contract to become Portadown’s next permanent manager.
The former Northern Ireland international has one win from eight games since taking on the role of caretaker boss but a club statement described the Board of Directors as “very impressed with Pat’s approach”.
The move - described by officials as “internally appointed” - arrives ahead of a crucial final Danske Bank Premiership fixture away to Ballymena United and hours before a verdict is expected relating to this week’s IFA Appeals’ Board hearing into two charges of “bringing the game into disrepute”.
Although applications were invited and a shortlist compiled, it is understood that interviews with other candidates did not take place.
Despite a season under the shadow of off-the-field issues and poor on-pitch form, which has left the club at risk of relegation, McGibbon remains proud to have been handed the role.
“Stability is required for the club to start moving forward and I am happy to have agreed a two-year deal,” said McGibbon, a former Ports centre-back who joined the club last year as physio but was promoted to the position of interim boss following Ronnie McFall’s resignation. “Now the decision has been made it is time to be proactive to move the club forward.
“It was very important a decision was made and I am happy to be a part of it, with Portadown still a big name.
“There are so many good people connected to the club, from the Board of Directors to the volunteers and supporters.
“We want the players to buy into a vision we are looking to put in place and confirmation of this move as permanent manager gives me assurances and the foundation to move forward.
“Obviously the role of the management team at the minute is to help prepare the players for Saturday’s game but, as permanent manager, I can also start looking to the future.
“Although I did not sign any of the players currently at the club, we can now start the process of planning for the future with this squad and possible summer targets.
“I think it is also a boost to have this confirmed before Saturday’s important match at Ballymena.”
McGibbon has a long-standing commitment to grassroots football thanks to his Train To Be Smart programme and Milk Cup coaching role. He aims to continue to develop young players like Nathaniel Ferris and Marcio Soares.
“That connections between youth and the senior set-up is important for the future progress of Portadown,” said McGibbon. “Now, as permanent manager, I can really start to focus on strengthening those links and building on existing connections with the various managers.
“There are some exciting young players at the club and it is also important having people like Trevor Williamson and Keith O’Hara, two men who work so much with the youth teams, as part of the first-team management set-up.
“Although we will define everything over the next period of time, Vinny Arkins has been excellent since coming back to the club as coach and would certainly want him to remain on the management team.”