Derry City were fighting a losing battle to hold on to Greg Sloggett once Dundalk came knocking: insists Declan Devine

Former Derry City vice captain, Greg Sloggett, pictured in action against Dundalk midfielder, Chris Shields, recently signed a two year deal with the league champions.
Former Derry City vice captain, Greg Sloggett, pictured in action against Dundalk midfielder, Chris Shields, recently signed a two year deal with the league champions.

DECLAN Devine insists he doesn't blame Greg Sloggett for signing for Dundalk, claiming Derry City simply can't compete with clubs who can offer 52 week contracts.

The Derry City boss claimed the bustling midfielder was 'tearful' and 'emotional' when he informed him of his decision to make the move to the champions last Tuesday after spending 10 successful months on Foyleside.

Sloggett, who lives just 28 miles from Oriel Park, signed a two-year deal with the Lilywhites last week and, according to Devine, will receive 'an extra 24 weeks pay' over the course of his contract compared to what he would've been offered at Derry City.

Devine insists the club did everything in their power to keep the midfielder at Brandywell and would've signed him on a long term deal but conceded the club faced a losing battle when Dundalk played their hand.

"We can't compete with the big clubs," claimed Devine. "We can't compete financially and ultimately we're going to continue to have a turnover of players at this football club. It's the nature of 40 week contracts.

"We've been negotiating with Greg for a long time and other players for a long time but it is a players' market at the minute. Obviously they don't get paid over the Christmas period and they're going to weigh up all their options.

"I don't think it's about giving Sloggett a two or three year deal, of course we would have signed him on that but common sense tells you to hold on and see if you can get six months wages over the course of the next two years which will look after his lifestyle and way of living. So I do think that is the problem.

"And if UEFA licensing stated everyone must be paid 52 weeks of the year, we would have to find a hell of a lot of money. Ultimately the players are looking out for themselves and their families and honestly I can't knock anyone for that.

"We would've signed Greg Sloggett on a three year contract. Ciaron Harkin is on a three year contract. Eoin Toal is on a three year contract. There's a couple of players on long term deals and we're fortunate to have them.

"The reality is we pay 40 weeks, 42 weeks max," he explained. "Greg Sloggett signed a two year deal with Dundalk. He now gets an extra 24 weeks pay. That's the reality. It comes down to money. Players are professional people. To see some of the deals being offered by some clubs, it's actually big, big money some clubs are paying. So that's part of the problem. We're talking to players now but why sign now. They're weighing up their options.

"What the players have to go through, it's very difficult for footballers and their families. Players sacrifice a lot and have to go 12 weeks without wages, It's not right! This is a league thing again, it's not just Derry."

Devine was full of praise for the Co. Meath man who signed for the Candy Stripes after helping guide UCD to the First Division title in 2018 but the City supremo was confident his management team would find a replacement ahead of the 2020 campaign.

"Greg Sloggett is an incredible person and we were very lucky to have him," insisted the City boss. "He was one of our first targets and he bought into what we actually wanted. There was no structure to anything, we just had to sell him what we were going to try and achieve and that we were going to try to challenge at the top end of the table.

"Greg is a brilliant person and a brilliant footballer. He lives 28 miles from Dundalk. He's got a very tight family who he's very close with. I have nothing but respect for the boy. We opened negotiations with Greg Sloggett six months ago.

"He's the type of guy that weighs a lot of things up and up until the last minute we were very much in with a shout. I spoke to Greg last Tuesday and he was very tearful on the phone. He was emotional.

"He's given us a really good platform this year, I can't knock the boy because he set real, high standards for us in terms of training, his work ethic on the pitch and his desire. He was proud to wear that armband and he was a brilliant player for us. As much as we tried to keep him and we would have loved to have kept him, we'll get somebody else and we'll keep going.,

"We'll keep getting players to the club who want to play for the club, I wish Greg all the best and he's just another player who has moved on and there will be others. What we will do is get players who really want to play for Derry City here.

" Greg was brilliant for us but that chapter is closed. We now have to go again and get other people that are going to spill everything on that Brandywell pitch and on every pitch in Ireland. As much as we wish him all the best we'll be ready for him as well once he comes back to the Brandywell," he smiled.