SportSoccer

Dissident republicans threaten to kill ex-Rangers star

SoccerBy Sunday World
Nacho Novo during his Rangers days
Nacho Novo during his Rangers days

DISSIDENT re­publicans have threatened to kill Glentoran ace Nacho Novo.

Spanish soccer star Novo, who joined the Northern Ireland club at the start of the season, has vowed to face down his tormentors and fulfil his commitment to the east Belfast outfit.

Details of the threat emerged as the 37-year-old's former club Rangers clashed with Glasgow rivals Celtic in the first Old Firm derby in the league for five years on Saturday, in which the Gers were thrashed 5-1.

The Sunday World under­stands Novo, who lifted the Scottish title with Rangers and who was inducted into the club's Hall of Fame two years ago, was informed of the threat within the last two weeks.

Police took the threat sufficient­ly seriously to advise the popular Spaniard to be on the alert and vary his movements.

Novo now plays for Northern Ireland Football League side Glentoran

Last week, Glentoran chairman Stephen Henderson confirmed a threat had been made to one of the club's players and they were working with police on the "very sensitive issue".

Sunday World sources under­stand the threat against the striker is coming from the north Armagh area, where the so-called New IRA are the most dominant dissident group.

Novo was forced to duck his weekly training schedule with Glentoran but the threat has been downgraded to 'low' by the PSNI, so the former Ibrox hero has been cleared to rejoin his Glentoran team-mates in training.

Mr Henderson confirmed a threat had been issued to one of the club's players, but would not identify the player for fear of inflaming the situation.

"We at Glentoran Football Club are not interested in politics or religion, indeed we have been a cross-commu­nity club since the very beginning of our existence," he added.

The shocking revelations are sure to rock football in the North and it appears that the player is being targeted for no other reason than the fact he was a Glasgow Rangers legend.

Novo played for the club be­tween 2004 and 2010, during which time he scored 47 goals in 179 appearances

The Sunday World understands that when Novo's family first heard of the threat, they wanted him to return to his native Gali­cia, in Spain. However, the brave Spaniard has decided he wants to stay in Northern Ireland.