Gerard Doherty has admitted that the turbulent last few years at Derry City was having an affect on his family life and was a big reason why he has left his home town club.
The Creggan man, who made 448 appearances and kept 173 clean sheets for the ‘Candy Stripes,’ stated after having had an honest conversion with his wife, Edele, a matter of months ago, that his mind was made up.
Doherty was given the captain’s armband after the tragic death in 2017 of former team-mate Ryan McBride, while last season, apart from the EA Sports Cup success, there wasn’t much to cheer about in Kenny Shiels’ final season in charge.
“I was always thinking about ending my career at Derry City, but things change and a few months ago a couple of things happened that was more or less out of my control,” he insisted.
“I had a talk with my wife and we sat down and were honest, because things weren’t right at the time. Things happen for a reason and I’m a big believer in that, as is Edele, so after having that honest chat things started to go down hill from there.
“To be honest I was probably mentally hanging in there for a long time before that, it was a tough season and as everyone knows it has been a tough couple of years.
To be honest I was probably mentally hanging in there for a long time before that, it was a tough season and as everyone knows it has been a tough couple of years.Gerard Doherty
“There have been things that have happened that had been hard to deal with and its not as if we go home as players and switch off, we aren’t robots, you can’t just switch on and off. Things affect you and if things are affecting you and affecting your family life, then you have to change it and that’s the bottom line.
“Things weren’t good for myself mentally and my family life wasn’t good. There’s worse things happening and at the end of the day it’s a job, which I know people depend on you too and maybe I let a few people down, but that’s where I was mentally at the time and to be honest I wouldn’t change anything.
“In my head that was the only thing I could do at the time and that’s what happened.”
Only a few months ago Doherty signed a new one year contract with Derry, but he admits now that he shouldn’t have put pen to paper on that deal and can’t praise new boss Declan Devine and club chairman Philip O’Doherty enough for understanding his situation and helping him get his move to Crusaders.
“It was a question that I had to ask myself ‘why did I sign a new deal?’ and to be brutally honest it was a security thing, that’s exactly what it was,” said Doherty.
“I didn’t know what was happening I didn’t know what was going on and there were rumors left right and centre, but that’s now water under the bridge.
“To be brutally honest the club has been absolutely brilliant with me over the last couple of weeks and I was glad Declan got the job, but my mind was made up before Declan came in and I have nothing but good things to say about him.
“Obviously Decky was the man who brought me to the club 10 years ago, but I had an honest chat with him and Philip and to be fair to Decky he couldn’t help me anymore.
“He knew where my head was at and he knew that I had made my decision and I wasn’t going to go back on that.
“I know he had a job in terms of getting players in and because of that it didn’t sit well with me as I was putting him in a sticky situation, but at the same time I wasn’t going to go in for pre-season and then look to go, as I said my mind was made up 100 per cent and there was no turning back.
“Decky he has helped me and I think they have got a bit of package sorted out with Crusaders and all parties are happy enough.”
The former TNS shot-stopper holds his hands up and knows that some supporters weren’t happy that he didn’t play in Derry’s final two games of the 2018 season and he admits he was annoyed that he let them and his team-mates down.
“Fans weren’t happy with me not playing the last two games and to be honest I wasn’t happy myself either,” he explained.
“It wasn’t as if I was sitting in the house and loving life, I couldn’t get it out of my head, as I was thinking that I let my team-mates down, the club and the supporters down, but the other side of it as well I knew deep down in my heart what was going to happen and it wasn’t a nice time.”
Doherty believes that Derry’s new management team will bring the good times back and he’ll be in the Mark Farren stand cheering on his mates when the season gets underway.
“I’ll obviously keep an eye on the boys and I just want to take this opportunity and wish everyone at Derry well,” he said. “Ten years is a long time at the club and you get to know everybody off the pitch.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for Decky and Kevin to build a squad, there was a sort of a panic on at the start in terms of no players, but in my eyes that’s a good thing for Decky and I said that to him as well, that he can build his own team, as he could have come into a squad of 15 players that he didn’t want, so I feel it’s a good time for Derry.
“I see that they have made a few good signings and looks like they are going to make a few more and if I have Friday night off and not doing anything with the family, then I’ll pop down and watch the match, but at the minute I’m only focusing on Crusaders.”