RODDY COLLINS has publicly blasted the current mindset at Derry City Football Club, the Dubliner suggesting the ‘Candy Stripes’ have ‘no chance’ of ever winning the league title with locally based players.
The former Derry City boss, in his weekly column in the ‘Irish Star’ newspaper, also launched a broadside at Derry City defender, Shane McEleney claiming the centre-half, who was placed on the transfer list last week, wasn’t good enough to play League of Ireland football.
During his time as Derry City manager, Collins signed 10 players from outside the city, including Dubliners Cliff Byrne, Dave Elebert and Roddy Collins Jr; Galway’s Enda Curran, Liverpudlian Danny Ventre and Scottish natives, Mark Stewart and J. P. McGovern.
Indeed, Collins claims the so called ‘outsiders’ he brought to the club showed “100 per cent more commitment than their Derry born teammates!”
Collins also criticised Derry City for being ‘far too parochial’ and being like a ‘YMCA’ where he ‘felt obliged to pick local players’.
“Things are far too parochial in Derry and they will never win the league with that mentality,” continued the Dubliner.
“I wouldn’t have a bad word to say about the people of Derry, but when you are an ‘outsider’ — and I was called that on many occasions — you really felt you had to dig in more.
“But that’s what you should be doing anyway as a professional footballer.
“The players coming from England, Scotland or Dublin — they were the ones making a huge effort, moving away from their families to pursue their careers.
“But often the club felt like a YMCA and you felt obliged to pick the local players.
“I got the ‘outsider’ treatment early on. James McClean jumped on me straight away when I released one of his mates.”
Collins suggested that the Brandywell club should be challenging for the title on an annual basis.
“Derry City should be challenging for the title every single year. They have the set-up to be dominant in Irish football for as long as they want. But the attitude isn’t right.
Next year Shamrock Rovers will be strong because they are throwing bucketloads of money at it.
St Pat’s will be there or thereabouts and Dundalk will be determined to defend their title. But you look at Derry City and they have no chance.
“They can keep employing local players and settle for mediocrity. Or they can go for the best and dominate the League of Ireland.”
McELENEY NOT GOOD ENOUGH?
The former Derry boss also heavily criticised McEleney for his attitude during his time at the Lone Moor Road venue, claiming he wasn’t good enough to play in the League of Ireland.
“Shane McEleney and others need to realise that Derry City Football Club owes them nothing.
“I’m a Cabra man and a Dub,” he added.
“If I ever pull on a Dublin jersey, I would die for the cause.
“It is no good saying you are a Derry man unless you give your heart and soul — but I didn’t see enough of that from Shane McEleney.
“What I did see was the effort that was put in by the so-called ‘outsiders’. They gave 100 times more commitment. They had to if they were to be accepted.
“He (Shane McEleney) had a pop at me and the Board at the Brandywell after Peter Hutton put him on the transfer list.
He even had a pop off Cliff Byrne — a defender I signed with over 400 games under his belt between Championship, League One and League Two.
Shane seems reluctant to play elsewhere in the League of Ireland or the Irish League. But one thing is for sure — he has got to man-up.
“Instead of moaning about it, he has got to get out there and prove everyone wrong.
“If you can’t play for your hometown club, put your boots under your arm and hit the road. We’ve all had to do it in our respective careers.”
Amazingly, Collins described McEleney as “a lovely kid.”
He concluded: “My personal opinion? Shane is a lovely kid and very respectful, but is not a great footballer. I think he’s probably not good enough for the League of Ireland. That’s why he didn’t see much action when I was in charge.”