ANTHONY Elding claims Derry City have let ‘one of the best goalkeepers the club has seen’ slip through their fingers by releasing him prematurely from his contract!
With his tongue firmly planted in cheek, Elding joked that one of his most memorable moments in a Derry City shirt was during the 0-2 home defeat to Galway United when he was forced to play in goal.
With regular goalkeeper, Gerard Doherty and his replacement, Shaun Patton, both taken off injured, Elding donned the No. 1 jersey for the final 20 minutes.
And he made two excellent saves to deny the ‘Tribesmen’ a third goal on a disastrous night for the ‘Candy Stripes’.
“I was probably one of the best goalkeepers the club has seen for a long time,” he joked yesterday following his departure.
So the Englishman, who has played for 26 clubs during his professional career, leaves Brandywell with his humour intact.
I thought I had a future at the club and I’m sad to be leaving but that’s football. It is what it is.Anthony Elding
However, he admitted he was ‘sad’ to be cutting ties with the club so soon, having made just 11 appearances (three as a substitute) this season, adding that he felt he had a future under manager, Peter Hutton.
“I thought I had a future at the club and I’m sad to be leaving but that’s football,” added Elding. “It is what it is.
“But I have to move forward, I’ve got almost a full month now to find myself another club.
“I’d like to thank Derry City and the fans for making me feel welcome during my short time at the club.”
Elding joined Derry last February after a spell with Irish Premiership club, Ballinamallard where he scored six goals in 12 games.
Derry became his 21st club during his 16 year professional career but after registering just twice in those 11 appearances, the club parted ways with the striker on Thursday morning.
His final appearance in a Derry shirt came in a 0-1 League Cup defeat to Shamrock Rovers back on May 19th and with Hutton opting to bring on Under-19 strikers, Ryan Curran and Georgie Kelly from the bench in the 0-3 loss to St. Pat’s last weekend instead of Elding, it was a clear indication that the bustling striker wasn’t in his plans.
Hutton thanked Elding for his service during the past five months but admitted that ‘it just didn’t work out’ for the former Sligo Rovers hitman.
“I wanted to tell him (Elding) before the break so that he can assess his own options,” said Hutton. “I think you have to be honest with players. It just didn’t work out for him which was unfortunate for us and for Anthony.
“To be fair to Anthony, he thrives off a good supply from the flanks and we have struggled with our wingers providing the ammunition, we were not consistent in that regard but Dooley’s loss has been hugely significant.
“He was a good professional and while things were not working out at the Brandywell for him, I believe he will get another club and I’d like to thank him for his service.”
Elding follows quickly in the footsteps of Letterkenny man, Sean Houston who was released from the club following last Friday night’s loss to St Pat’s as Hutton appears to be reassessing his squad ahead of the July Transfer Window when he plans on bringing in new faces.
Meanwhile, Ciaran Brown from Manchester, ticket No. 410, claimed the top prize of £1,000 in the Derry City Monthly draw for May.