Ben Doherty buzzing with Derry City return

New signing Ben Doherty is thrilled to be back at Derry City and he’s ready to work hard to force his way into Ruaidhrí Higgins’ plans.

The 25-year-old has signed a three-year-deal with his home town club with Joe Thomson and Micheál Glynn moving in the opposite direction to Larne and contrary to reports their was no undisclosed transfer fee involved in the deal.

For Doherty, who will be given 10 days off before joining City’s pre-season training, concedes the last few days have been hectic, but he’s thrilled the deal is now complete.

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“It’s been nuts, a lot of back and forth but I think everyone is happy now and I’m happy it’s gone that way and I’m just looking forward to getting started,” he stated.

“I was speaking to a few people about the deal and said I left here a 17 or 18-year old boy with very little game experience or being in a men’s football environment.

“I’ve now spent five season away and played in big European games, title games and cup finals. I’m definitely coming back as a different person with a lot more experience and a more developed footballer and that’s what I’m looking to prove.”

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Derry City's new signing Ben Doherty alongside manager Ruaidhrí Higgins, at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium. Picture by Kevin Morrison

“The main pull for me was when I left Derry it wasn’t a case of closing that chapter or closing Derry out,” he added. “I still lived here and I was a fan from afar; I watched nearly every game when we weren’t playing.

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“I have a lot of mates in the changing room already and the project is something I want to be a part of. If you’re from the town you feel the buzz and it excites me to be a part of it now.”

In signing Doherty, the Candystripes have added a versatile player, who has played, scored and assisted in the Irish League and in Europe on a regular basis.

He made 178 appearances in all competitions, scored 49 goals and had 46 assists. And during the last three seasons he has also been in the top three players in the Danske Bank Premiership for assists and that’s something which hasn’t gone unnoticed by Higgins.

“You have to take everything into consideration when you’re trying to sign a player. He’s been competing to win things in the last number of years and he’s had an outstanding couple of years,” admitted the Derry boss.

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“His goal contributions are right up there in the Irish League. We look at every market and I think that market has been good with obviously Jamie (McGonigle) and now Ben.

“We’re always looking to try to improve the squad and the fact that he’s a local boy is huge for us; he knows what the club is all about. It’s not as if he’s just walking into a dressing room and doesn’t have a clue who anyone is.

“He lives close to the ground and obviously his father played over 300 times here. He knows what the club is all about.

“He’s a great lad, a great professional and he’s in great physical condition."