Search begins for new Derry City boss

LOI, Derry City v Limerick, 25-10-13'Derry City's Davy McDaid celebrates his first goal with Michael Rafter against Limerick at the Brandywell on Friday night. Picture Margaret McLaughlin � please by-line
LOI, Derry City v Limerick, 25-10-13'Derry City's Davy McDaid celebrates his first goal with Michael Rafter against Limerick at the Brandywell on Friday night. Picture Margaret McLaughlin � please by-line

“ROUND up the usual suspects” is a term that will be recognised by Derry City supporters and many will agree that a similar situation will apply over the opening weeks of the 2013 close season.

Declan Devine’s “mutual consent” departure from the Brandywell may well have been predictable given the string of very disappointing results after the mid-season break in June, but there are many supporters who held the view that a decent finish to the campaign and, possibly, a return to the Europa League next summer, would have fashioned an additional year in the Derry hotseat.

However, that was not the view harboured by the club’s directors who now face what will prove to be a very important challenge in attracting a new boss to a club which boasts so much potential.

And there’s no doubt either that some of the candidates who had been interviewed two years ago by members the current Board, will have already made new approaches with other high profile names bandied about simply because they are currently unemployed.

But one thing is for sure, the Derry job does hold sway in the senior game in Ireland - north and south - despite boasting dilapidated facilities.

And with individuals such as former Kilmarnock boss, Kenny Shiels understood to be in the frame, plus the well travelled ex-Athlone Town supremo, Roddy Collins; former Dundalk manager, Sean Connor with Willie McStay’s name also mentioned again, the Derry Board face a few interesting challenges.

Hutton definitely interested in managerial position

But a local interest will also be investigated with candidates such as the club’s longest serving player, Peter Hutton, a former interim manager on two occasions at the Brandywell or Institute supremo, Paul Kee, who was also interviewed for the position in the past.

There’s always the possibility of an appointment from within the club’s current coaching staff, should such individuals express an interest and there’s no doubt that others will express an interest, with many identities not disclosed to the public should they fail to be taken into account.

And while interest is believed to have already been expressed by Collins and Shiels, Connor also ticks quite a few boxes as he is now resident in Co. Donegal with his family.

Shiels would tick similar boxes to Connor, however, the Co. Derry resident would boast a limited knowledge of the current teams and players plying their trade in the Airtricity League’s Premier Division.

For the ebullient Collins, however, the Derry job would mean relocation from Dublin which, for some Board members, could represent a setback.

Willie McStay, so close to securing the position two years ago, has since taken up a new appointment at the start of the current season with non-league side, Celtic Nation, so his interest in the Derry job may well have waned.

However, from a local point of view, Hutton is not without a chance of securing a position, either as manager or, more likely, as a first team coach to any new boss.

In fact, according to sources close to the player, the ex-Finn Harps boss has emerged a real dark horse to succeed Declan Devine. And while I failed to make contact with the former Brandywell favourite last night, Hutton is understood to have expressed an interest to be considered as part of a new management team, should the Board hold the view that he is not yet experienced enough to take charge of the ship single-handedly.

No doubt other names will come into the frame over the next few days but one thing is for sure, the Board will not be rushed into an appointment, despite the fact that quite a few members of the current staff are out of contract.