Derry City boss Ruaidhri Higgins says Alan Reynolds made him a 'more rounded' manager

RUAIDHRI Higgins reckons Alan Reynolds has made him a better and 'more rounded' manager as he regrettably prepares to part company with his trusted sidekick this week.
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Describing his Waterford-bound assistant coach as 'an amazing mentor' and 'friend' after Reynolds’ last hurrah at the club on Friday, Higgins will now put the wheels in motion in the search for his replacement as the show must go on at Brandywell.

Reynolds' departure has yet to be officially confirmed by Derry or his appointment as Keith Long's No.2 announced by the Munster club and therefore Higgins was reluctant to bid an official farewell after the Candy Stripes' 1-0 win at Tolka Park on Friday night where 'Rennie', as he is better known, received a fitting send-off from the travelling support in the driving rain.

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A long and meaningful embrace with Higgins followed and it quite clearly marked the end of a successful coaching partnership which helped secure Derry City's first FAI Cup triumph in a decade last November.

Higgins has been on record stressing the significant role the experienced Waterford native played in Derry's success last season, particularly during the month of May where Higgins' troops failed to win a single game - a run which ultimately cost them a chance to dethrone Shamrock Rovers.

A friendship which was formed in 2008 during Rennie's first spell on Foyleside as assistant manager to Stephen Kenny, blossomed over the years and Higgins knows his trusted aide will be a difficult man to replace.

After signing off with victory at Tolka Park, Higgins spoke of the impact Rennie had on the dressing room and how their partnership helped to craft him into a manager.

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"Nothing has been confirmed," he stressed when quizzed on Reynold's imminent departure. "We'll talk about it over the weekend. All I can say about Rennie is that he's been an amazing friend to me personally and to be honest, when I was playing even when he was at Derry in '08 and he left and I was still playing, he was like a mentor to me.

Alan Reynolds helps prepare the Derry City players for Friday's match at Tolka Park. Credit: Kevin Moore/MCIAlan Reynolds helps prepare the Derry City players for Friday's match at Tolka Park. Credit: Kevin Moore/MCI
Alan Reynolds helps prepare the Derry City players for Friday's match at Tolka Park. Credit: Kevin Moore/MCI

"We've been in touch for a long time so he's a close friend but he's definitely made me a better manager as well. I can't thank him enough but as I said, we'll talk about it more in depth over the weekend.

"For me he's one of the most experienced League of Ireland people there is around. He brings so much quality and so much to the dressing room. He's had an ongoing personal issue that's been going on for quite a while now that we've all known about.

"He's been an amazing mentor and he's definitely made me better and more rounded as a manager. We all love him here and to be honest, he absolutely loves it here and loves everything about it."

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Official confirmation of Reynolds departure is expected in the coming days but it's clear his decision to return to Waterford where he spent three-and-a-half years as manager, winning promotion from the First Division, is fuelled by his desire to be closer to home due to an ongoing private family matter.