DECLAN Devine’s departure from the Brandywell hotseat after two seasons in charge of Derry City may not have come as a surprise to many, but appointing his successor will prove challenging for the club’s Board of Directors.
And while Derry City chairman, Mr. Philip O’Doherty, was unavailable for comment yesterday, he released the 40-year-old Creggan man on Sunday afternoon following a meeting of the club’s Board or Directors having issued a brief statement claiming the proverbial “by mutual agreement.”
Devine’s bitter disappointment was predictable.
But as is always the case in Derry City circles, the local rumour mill moved into overdrive with allegations suggesting that the Board had already met certain candidates and, indeed, one weekend rumour decreed that Devine’s successor would be appointed yesterday!
However, the former boss opted to remain professional having departed the club on good terms, asking supporters to get behind the Board and, of course, the team next season.
While “gutted” and “bitterly disappointed” at the decision of the Board, it was also clear that Devine’s verbal contract for another season had been addressed by the powers that be with the former boss bearing no ill will on his departure.
“It was well documented that I wanted to remain in the job,” he insisted. “I felt that reaching two cup finals, winning one and, of course, helping bring young players through, was significant.
“The sales of both Danny Lafferty and Stephen McLaughlin to cross-Channel clubs was also positive during my time in charge so I believe I’ve made an impact in my venture into management.
“Yes, I’ve made mistakes during my tenure, but having finished in fourth place this season and, hopefully, secured a return to the Europa League, it’s not been all bad.”
He rejected suggestions that he had lost the dressing room during the summer of this year.
“There have been so many ridiculous rumours about what had gone on inside the dressing room and I’m certainly not going to add to those.
“As I stated in the Derry City Social Club not so long ago when I met supporters, sometimes it can be difficult to get every player on board,” he admitted.
“However, having coached and managed the club, I intend to be back on the terraces next season supporting my home town club and I would urge everyone to do the same.”