When all things are considered, it isn’t any wonder that Liverpool-born midfielder, Danny Ventre, decided to really enjoy the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
The 27 year-old joined Derry City F.C. just before yuletide got into full swing and on Christmas Eve he got down on one knee and asked his girlfriend, Charlotte, to marry him. She said yes.
“If I am honest with you this is the first proper break I have had in three or four years.
“Every other year, I usually remain very, very disciplined over Christmas but joining Derry City and getting engaged doesn’t come along every day so I decided to enjoy myself this year,” smiled Ventre.
Derry City boss, Roddy Collins and assistant manager, Peter Hutton, will meet with the full squad next Friday for the first day of pre-season training.
Ventre said despite the fact that pre-season training can be extremely gruelling, he is really looking forward to it.
“I don’t know too many of the players in the team personally but I have had more than my fair share of clashes with a few of them down through the seasons,” laughed the former Sligo Rovers captain.
“I played with Barry Molloy, Gerard Doherty and Ryan McBride for the League of Ireland XI in the Aviva Stadium a few years ago but whilst the Derry City lads were there for a week before the match I was only there for a few days as Sligo Rovers had a European fixture in Ukraine.
“I am honestly looking forward to pre-season training and I can’t wait to meet all of the lads I will be playing alongside next season.”
Derry City fans from Shantallow to San Francisco applauded new boss Collins when he secured the signature of Ventre.
Ventre is a talented midfielder who needs absolutely no introduction to the League of Ireland and during his seven years with Sligo Rovers he captained the team to both league and cup glory.
“Roddy [Collins] contacted me when he was managing Athlone Town in the First Division last season.
“I think Roddy wanted me to go on loan but with the greatest respect to the teams in that league, I didn’t want to play in the First Division.
“A few months passed by and when Roddy got the Derry City job he contacted me again. I was delighted when he contacted me because, I might not know Roddy Collins personally, but a few players I know who have played under him say you’ll not find a more honest and passionate manager in Ireland.
“When I spoke to Roddy on the phone I got a definite sense that he was a man who was honest and who regarded loyalty and hard work top of his list of characteristics.
“Roddy shares a trait with myself in the sense that we are both very ambitious people.
“I am not coming to Derry City to enjoy myself, I’ve joined the club because I believe it’s a place that I can win medals and win trophies.”
Throughout his time at the Showgrounds, Ventre was praised for the way in which he led his fellow players both on and off the pitch.
When asked if he would like to be captain of Derry City F.C. he said he understood that there were other players who might get the opportunity before him but stated that should Collins come a calling he will be ready to answer.
“There are players at Derry City who will know what I am talking about when I say, that just because you do or don’t wear a captain’s armband doesn’t stop you from trying to lead on the pitch.
“I have captained players who, at the time, were senior to me. I captained Joseph N’Do when I was with Sligo.
“Joseph is an amazing player with bags of skill; he’s been involved in a World Cup with Cameroon and he’s older than me. Be that as it may, all that didn’t phase me because leading and communicating on the pitch is what I do. It’s what I am about.
“Obviously there are players who have been at Derry City for a long time but it would be a tremendous honour to captain Derry,” admitted Ventre.
When Ventre signed for Sligo Rovers from Accrington Stanley in 2007, Peter Hutton was still playing for and captaining Derry City.
“I played against Peter a few times with Sligo and he was a brilliant centre-back.
“I think it’s great that Peter is involved too because he is a great professional and I am sure despite the fact I have played plenty of games in the League of Ireland, he will be able teach me a few things.
“I experienced the same thing when I met Gary Stevens when I was at Sligo Rovers.
“I’d never met Gary before and didn’t know he had seven England caps but after getting to know him I learned a lot from him.
“It’s been a really long off season if I am honest and I can’t wait to get stuck in because our first game of the 2014 league campaign is away to Shamrock Rovers and they don’t get much tougher than that,” said Ventre.