EAMON ZAYED believes Kenny Shiels will be making a ‘huge mistake’ if he refuses to revive talks with ex-Derry City skipper, Barry Molloy, who, he feels, deserves another shot at the Brandywell club.
The former ‘Candy Stripes’ striker and 2011 PFAI ‘Player of the Year’ believes bringing Molloy back to Brandywell is a ‘no brainer’ and has urged the Derry boss to offer the experienced midfielder an improved deal.
Derry City boss, Shiels, is understood to have had concerns about the midfielder’s recent injury record while Molloy himself admitted he was considering retirement after refusing to accept a contract from Derry last week.
However, Zayed, who played alongside Molloy during the 2011 season when Derry finished in third place under Stephen Kenny, believes Molloy’s experience would prove invaluable for Shiels and what he’s trying to achieve on Foyleside this season.
“It might be easy for me to say as I’m not looking after the figures and budget at Derry, but you have to break the bank for Barry Molloy,” insisted Zayed.
“I just feel, regardless of the figures, Barry keeps himself in good nick and works extremely hard. And, based on experience alone, he would be a great signing. He has unbelievable experience. He’s played in the league for so long and been successful.
I strongly feel that they should bring back Barry and try harder. I wouldn’t blame Kenny because he’s new to the league and doesn’t know Barry’s value both on and off the pitch.Eamon Zayed
“There are some very talented young players up in Derry and Barry is someone they would look up to and relate to because he’s been at the club so long. It will definitely be a mistake if they don’t sign him,” he added.
“I don’t know how much they will regret it but he would definitely add to what they’re trying to do this year.
“Kenny’s the manager and he’s trying to juggle his budget about but Barry is worth it. I wouldn’t say that about many players, but Barry’s someone who wants to be successful and will give absolutely everything to play for Derry City.
Derry City fan
“I guess I’m a fan now - someone looking from the outside in,” he continued. “I do have the knowledge because I played with Barry and in the League of Ireland.
“He has so much experience and he still has quality. He’s 32 so he’s not finished. He’s someone who didn’t rely on pace. He relied on his fitness, his engine and he still has that. He still will be able to give you 90 minutes at a good level.
“Barry played with his heart, he was tough in the tackle and he hasn’t lost any of that hunger. He also has a good range of passing. You don’t lose that ability to see a pass.
“He deserves another shot. I just don’t see the thinking in it. If I was the manager at Derry City, it’s a no brainer - like the Gareth McGlynn signing.
“People may think I’m being romantic because they used to do it for Derry City in the past so bring them back. But you have to think about the way these players played and their attitude as well.
“As long as he has the motivation and hunger and keeps himself in good nick, then he can play on. You have to look at the individual and see what their attributes are. Do they diminish over time? Barry’s best attributes don’t diminish with age.
“I would 100 per cent go back to Barry and try and strike a deal. We’re not talking about someone who is a money-grabber looking for x, y and z. He just wants to be respected and he’s earned that from what he’s given the club.
“With Barry, Gareth and Gerard Doherty there, along with a few other players, the experience they have and their professionalism and the way they conduct themselves will bring along the young players so much.
“With those players I would say you wouldn’t be seeing a struggling Derry City side which I read so much about in the papers over the last year or so.
“I strongly feel that they should bring back Barry and try harder. I wouldn’t blame Kenny because he’s new to the league and doesn’t know Barry’s value both on and off the pitch.”
Zayed, who also revealed he had come close to returning to Derry City in 2014 under Peter Hutton, claimed he was ‘angered’ when he heard Molloy was considering calling time on his career.
“It upset me to hear he was considering retirement. He’s nowhere near finished playing football. He shouldn’t even be thinking about retiring at all. He’s only 32 which is the thing that kills me. It’s become the norm in the League of Ireland that you retire at 31, 32 or 33 years-old. It used to be 36 years-old.
“There’s players retiring left right and centre and I just don’t get it. If you’re still motivated and keep yourself in good condition, which Barry is, and has a tremendous attitude to play on and be successful, then why wouldn’t you continue to play?
“I can understand why he was so downbeat because he wants to go back to Derry.
“Not many players, especially in the League of Ireland, truly love to play for their club.
“Barry Molloy truly loves playing for Derry City and will give 100 per cent every single week. Even when he’s not playing, he will be working on the training pitch helping the young lads.
He was the first person I met when I signed for Derry City and he made me feel at ease.
“I guess Barry just wants to be respected and I think he’s earned that. If you get an offer and you feel it’s disrespectful, I can understand why he would be upset.
“I don’t know Kenny Shiels and I don’t know if he knows Barry Molloy and his worth to Derry City. He’s not from the League of Ireland. He has his advisers but I would say to whoever that is to think of what Barry has done and what he still has to offer.”