Whilst the plans of most local football players is making Boxing Day their biggest present of the festive season, Glentoran striker Nacho Novo is aiming to give joy to members of the community by throwing a Christmas Eve party.

The Spanish striker will welcome 60-70 individuals from families facing a tougher Christmas than others this year in a party at the club's ground, The Oval, to help spread the cheer.

"I have been welcomed with open arms everywhere I go and I felt this event was the best way of expressing my gratitude to the people of east Belfast," said the 37-year-old in a statement.

"To be in a position where I can help underprivileged families in the area fills me with a great feeling of what Christmas is about - caring and helping those less fortunate than ourselves.

"I am overwhelmed by the level of support shown to this event already and thank everyone who has offered to help.

"Together we will help make Christmas more enjoyable for some families in the local community."

Helping out with the event will be Bill Peden - Novo's agent and businessman - with the two appealing for others to help in any way they can.

The pair are asking if anyone who knows an individual who deserves to invited to the event to contact them by email at: billpeden4@aol.com, or through Sarah, Jodie or Simon at the Milk Bar at The Oval.

"Since his arrival in east Belfast everyone has been so friendly to Nacho and it is his desire to show a little of his gratitude in this small way," said Mr Peden.

"Coupled with my own gratitude to the people of east Belfast for their support of many of my businesses in the area since I left school, and we both feel this event will be a token of our esteemed appreciation and reach out to those people who really need it most."

"Following on from Glentoran's fantastic Christmas appeal for the homeless, which this year has received amazing support under the guidance of Jodie Killops and others at the club, we felt that providing a Christmas meal, presents and a bit of companionship to those in the greater east Belfast community who are not just as fortunate as the rest of us could bring a small bit of happiness at a time of year when most of us spoil each other and enjoy the festivities."