RODDY Collins unveiled former Sligo skipper, Danny Ventre (27) as his third new signing for the season before confirming the departures of both Ruaidhri Higgins and David McDaid from the Brandywell this week.
And the Scouser, an experienced 27-year-old central midfield player, made a surprise appearance during last Tuesday night’s get-together with the manager and Board officials in the Derry City Social Club, after putting pen to paper on a one year contract.
However, for Higgins, who learned of his fate having returned from his honeymoon in South Africa, the news arrived as a bit of a shock.
“Obviously I’m disappointed to be leaving but, then again, I’ve learned that nothing surprises me in football,” said the 29-year-old Limavady man.
“And while I will be leaving the club with a heavy heart, the memories I hold having represented Derry City for over eight years will never leave me.”
Having recorded 289 competitive performances for the “Candy Stripes,” Higgins made his debut on October 14th, 2004 after entering the fray against Drogheda United at the Brandywell when replacing Ciaran Martyn.
Paul Doolin was then manager of the ‘Boynesiders’ and playing in midfield for the visitors that day was Barry Molloy in a match Derry won 1-0 thanks to an early Mark Farren strike.
He wished his former club every success in the future.
NO ILL FEELINGS TOWARDS DERRY CITY
“I bear no ill to Derry City; that’s football and while I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Brandywell, I must now seek a new challenge and continue my career.
“But I do wish Derry City and all my former team-mates all the best.
“I’ve made really good friends at the club and I’ve no doubt that those relationships will continue,” he added.
Higgins also captained the Brandywell side on four occasions but the main highlights of his career would centre on starting both games against IFK Gothenburg in the UEFA Cup back in 2006 and starting in the FAI Cup Final against St. Patrick’s Athletic in the last game to be played at Lansdowne Road in December of the same year.
For Roddy Collins, the departure of Higgins was a ‘footballing decision’ but he heaped praise on the playmaker for the professional way in which he accepted the manager’s decision.
“Ruaidhri is a great lad, but there always comes a time for change in football,” he claimed.
“He has done very well at Derry City, he’s kept himself in good condition and now he will move on and take up a new challenge and I wish him well in that regard,” added the Brandywell boss.
Collins, however, was not aware that McDaid had opted to join Irish League neighbours, Coleraine.
However, the Dubliner also wished the striker well once the move had been confirmed.