DERRY CITY chairman, Mr Philip O’Doherty isn’t expecting a flood of suitable applicants for the vacant manager’s job at Brandywell after the club publicly advertised for the position last night.
In fact the chairman is braced for a difficult task as the search for a new manager begins in earnest and he doesn’t foresee a huge amount of ‘high calibre’ candidates declaring an interest given past experiences.
Mr O’Doherty admitted his shock at caretaker boss, Paul Hegarty’s decision to decline the offer to take the hotseat on a permanent deal during a meeting last Saturday and claimed the board didn’t have a ‘Plan B’ in place!
He’s fully aware of the urgency of getting a suitor in place as quickly as possible with teams circling around the club’s best players and ready to pounce.
With skipper, Ryan McBride, Patrick McEleney and Mark Timlin all having their heads turned by offers elsewhere, the club’s Board of Directors, who met last night, have promised to act swiftly to retain the services of key personnel.
Derry officially advertised the manager’s post on the club’s website after that Board meeting last night but despite having already received applications from high profile candidates, former Man United players, Andrei Kanchelskis and Pat McGibbon included, Mr O’Doherty believes it will be hard to find a man worthy of the job.
The quantity wasn’t the issue it was the quality of applicants that was the problem. Serious applicants that would be able to manage a club like Derry City are hard to find!Philip O’Doherty
“The last couple of times we advertised for the manager’s job there wasn’t a lot of high calibre candidates,” explained Mr O’Doherty.
“The quantity wasn’t the issue, it was the quality of applicants that was the problem. Serious applicants that would be able to manage a club like Derry City are hard to find!”
Just three players, Barry McNamee, Aaron McEneff and Aaron Barry are currently under contract which poses a major headache for the Brandywell board.
However, Mr O’Doherty claimed the planning for next season starts immediately as the Board of Directors plan to open talks with out-of-contract players while keeping in line with the budget agreed by ex- caretaker boss, Paul Hegarty before his unexpected departure at the weekend.
While admitting it isn’t an ideal scenario for the board to be targeting players and negotiating their contracts, it isn’t the first time they have been briefed with the task.
“We’ve done this before when Stephen Kenny left on Christmas Eve a few years back,” said Mr O’Doherty. “We had various directors signing players.”
The Chairman admitted he was shocked by Hegarty’s decision to step away from the manager’s role despite having undergone advanced talks and agreed on a budget for next season.
No Plan B
With six games to go and Derry in major difficulties when he took over from Peter Hutton, Hegarty guided the club to Premier Division safety with two games to spare.
And while the Chairman thanked the Co Donegal man for his stellar service since taking over from Hutton last September, he admits he wasn’t prepared for Hegarty refusing the offer to take the job permanently.
“We have to focus on getting a manager because it’s going to be difficult as we had no ‘Plan B’,” he admitted.
“We were not thinking about anybody else at all, we were determined to get him and we thought he was definitely going to come with us.
“I just came home on Saturday morning from the States. I spoke to Paul on the previous Wednesday and the budget and everything was agreed.
“I then met with Paul at 3 p.m. on Saturday and he told me he wasn’t going to take the job. It was due to personal reasons.
“I was looking forward to working with him and felt we would have worked well together but he was adamant he didn’t need time to think about it. His mind was made up.
“On behalf of Derry City Football Club I would like to thank Paul Hegarty for everything he has done. We weren’t going well at all and only for him we would have been in real difficulties.”
“And I wouldn’t rule out Paul Hegarty being Derry City manager sometime in the future,” he predicted.