Derry City boss Declan Devine is smiling like a child on Christmas morning. He’s just signed two new players.
Devine, 38, unveiled both Strabane born striker Rory Patterson, (27) and Tallaght right-back Simon Madden (23) at a press conference on Friday afternoon.
“I am delighted that both the lads have signed,” said Devine. “As I said before I didn’t want to engage in any panic buying and I am over the moon about both Simon and Rory joining the club.”
Patterson, who joins Derry City on a two year deal from Plymouth Argyle, was on loan at Linfield F.C. when Devine expressed an interest in bringing him to the Brandywell.
Originally from Altiskane in Strabane Patterson has spent time at Rochdale, F.C. United, Droylsden F.C., Coleraine F.C., Plymouth Argyle and Linfield F.C.
“I was happy at Linfield but when I heard that Declan was interested in signing me I was immediately interested.”
During his time with the Blues, Patterson lived in Strabane and travelled to and from Belfast four times a week.
“I was spending four hours on my own in the car every time I drove to Belfast. The long journey was starting to hurt my back. There’s nothing wrong with my back it’s just that driving for two hours and then getting out and taking part in a training session or a football match is bound to take its toll.”
Patterson praised Linfield for the way in which they dealt with his situation and singled out Blues manager David Jeffrey by saying that he was nothing but supportive.
“I know that Linfield is perceived in a certain way but believe me they were fantastic to play for and to deal with.
“When I explained to David Jeffrey why I wanted to join Derry he said he understood and was fully supportive of me. He’s a top professional and a top man.”
Patterson said that he’s no different to any other striker in the sense that he thrives on “great service” from his team mates around him.
“A few of my mates go to the Brandywell to watch Derry City and they told me that it’s a team that provides plenty of great service. If strikers get great service then the goals will follow.
“I can play in any position the Gaffer [Declan Devine] wants me to. I am really looking forward to the start of the new season. I’ve already trained a few times already with the lads and it’s been great craic. I know the likes of Ruaidhri Higgins and Kevin Deery from when I was younger and I have heard nothing but good things about the two McEleney brothers.”
Patterson has been capped for Northern Ireland five times and scored one goal against Morocco in a friendly.
“I am just happy to be a Derry City player,” he said. “It’s been a long drawn out process and then there was a chance the deal might not go through but thankfully it’s all done and dusted. I just want to start playing football.”
Simon Madden joins Derry on a one year deal from Dundalk FC and is a former Leeds United, Darlington and Shamrock Rovers player.
Devine explained the reason he signed Madden was because he was the only defender who appeared to get the measure of current Sunderland FC and former Derry City player James McClean last season.
“Both Rory and Simon were top of my list when I took over as manager,” said Devine.
“Simon, to me is a right-back first and foremost but I know he can play in other positions.He’s an extremely fit player - which is very important to me. He played every minute of every game for Dundalk FC last season and in my opinion he was the only defender in the league who managed to get a handle on James McClean.”
Right-back, Madden, will be determined to lay claim to the position traditionally held by Derry City stalwart Eddie McCallion, (32).
“I am delighted that Eddie McCallion agreed to join the club again. Eddie signed before I was installed as manager but he would have been one of my first signings had I been in charge at the time. Eddie McCallion is an asset to this club and still has a lot to offer.”
Madden arrived in Derry on Friday to sign his contract but returned to Dublin soon after.
“Yeah, I’ll be staying up in Derry - I am looking forward to playing for this great team,” said Madden.
“I have played here a few times and it was always a tough shift coming to the Brandywell to try and get a result.
“I’ve been keeping myself in shape by doing a bit of training on my own. I am really excited about playing for the club and I am looking forward to my return to Dundalk.
“I am taking nothing for granted - the hard work starts now.”