Derry City’s search to appoint a successor to Stephen Kenny appears to have come down to either ex-Celtic defender, Willie McStay or fans’ favourite, Declan Devine, the ‘Journal’ has learned.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
Indeed, it’s also possible but unlikely, that both men would agree to form a partnership to lead the “Candy Stripes” into the 2012 Airtricity Premier Division season.
It’s understood that negotiations involving the Derry Board of Directors and both McStay and Devine continued last night.
Having drawn up a shortlist of five candidates from in excess of 15 applicants, it’s clear that the Board has been split between the appointment of McStay and Devine with Paul Hegarty finishing a close third.
Sources have also suggested that the Board would have been happy to accept a compromise involving the top two, with Devine offered the opportunity to remain as the Derry No. 2, but whether he would be prepared to accept such a proposal appears doubtful.
My attempts to contact members of the Board failed last night, but it’s understood the powers than be at the Brandywell are anxious to make an appointment as soon as possible.
McStay, who did well at Sligo Rovers when acting as a player manager in 1992, left the Showgrounds after a two years stint, opting to take up the offer of a full-time position at Parkhead when leading the club’s Youth Academy.
However, his knowledge of both Derry City and the League of Ireland in general, would not be expected to be up to date, hence the possibility of Devine stepping in to assist on that front.
But having now served his apprenticeship under Stephen Kenny over a seven year period, sources close to Devine have claimed that last year’s assistant boss would not be prepared to remain as No. 2 and was anxious to take over the management of the local club.
In fact, Devine is widely considered the ‘fans favourites’ with many Derry City supporters happy to see the former Creggan man link up with another of Kenny’s assistants, Paul Hegarty, to form the new management team.
There’s no doubt that McStay’s high profile presence would be an attraction to Board members, but it’s fair to suggest that the 50-year-old Scot would require time to settle into the position when not only getting to know the quality of league itself, but also to assess the quality contained within the current squad.
To that end, McStay’s backroom staff would prove significant if the “Candy Stripes” were to hit the ground running come February 13th next.
With time clearly against the Board of Directors, there’s no doubt that chairman, Mr. Philip O’Doherty, is particularly anxious to make an appointment as soon as possible with pre-season training expected to get underway next week.
Add in the fact that highly regarded playing personnel such as Eamon Zayed, Stewart Greacen and Gareth McGlynn have already departed the Brandywell, the recruitment of players with a similar quality would be imperative.