TO BE competing in the Europa League next season proved to be a significant incentive for Simon Madden following his decision to return to the Brandywell next year.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
And having lost out in two Setanta Sports Cup finals with Dundalk and Derry City, victory in the FAI Cup in the Aviva Stadium earlier this month gave the 24-year-old Dubliner a major personal boost.
So, despite receiving offers from a number of fashionable clubs, what made him commit to the “Candy Stripes” for another season?
“Talking to Declan (Devine) was very important. He’s someone who has great respect for the club and it’s supporters and I was delighted that he managed to win the FAI Cup in his first year as a manager,” said Simon.
“Declan had great plans for the future and he always insisted that the team was there. In fact, once we got our full strength team out towards the end of last season, the results suddenly changed for the better and that was no coincidence.
“Declan hopes to keep the vast majority of the team in place and then push on for greater things in 2013 and I felt I wanted to be a part of that as I had thoroughly enjoyed my first year at the Brandywell, it was a fabulous experience,” added the player.
“Winning the FAI Cup in the Aviva Stadium was fantastic and the thought of playing in the Europa League next season was massive for me. I’ve never played in Europe before and I certainly want to experience that.
“But the club is so well set-up. High levels of fitness are demanded and training is top notch. Add in the fact that the way Derry City play is perfect for me and I had no complaints whatsoever when representing the club last season. I really enjoyed the experience and I’d like to play my part next year as I think we can push on compete for the top honours.”
Having represented Leeds United and Darlington as a young player, Madden also was involved with Shamrock Rovers before impressing at Dundalk in 2011 and having experienced the game across the channel, he’s keen to return should such an opportunity arise.
“At the moment, I’m anxious to establish myself and push for top honours every season, that’s the priority for me. However, should something develop whereby I could go back to England, then so be it. However, I believe Derry City can push on next season given the way we finished 2012. If we can keep our players fit and possibly add one or two more, then I really do think 2013 could be a big year for us,” concluded the player.
Meanwhile, Derry captain, Kevin Deery, was delighted to learn that Madden would be back on board for another season at least.
And the Creggan man felt the Dubliner’s return would give everyone a boost.
“It’s a fantastic signing,” said Deery last night. “I’ve watched so many matches from the sidelines last season and I think Simon Madden was one of our most consistent performers,” added the captain.
“I’m thrilled that he’s opted to return as I really thought he would be playing somewhere else next season. But to get this news weeks after we won the FAI Cup will give everyone a great boost, he’s a fantastic all-round defender who is also a threat going forward, a modern-day full-back if you like,” continued Deery.
“Simon’s return will prove a superb addition to the squad and if Declan can add one or two other players to give us strength in depth, then who knows what we could achieve next season.
“He’s highly regarded by everyone at the club, a very important player for us, and I know the rest of the squad will be delighted to hear the news,” concluded Deery.