No ‘blank cheque’ for new Derry City boss

Brandywell stadium.
Brandywell stadium.

ANY new manager appointed by Derry City over the next few weeks will be expected to fully embrace the Brandywell club’s youth structures and help take that development onto another level.

That’s the view of Peter Wallace, Derry City’s Financial Director , who insists that youth development is the only way to secure the club’s future in the long term.

And as a member of the club’s interviewing panel which appointed Declan Devine in 2012, Wallace also pointed to the importance of a manager who is or has worked in the League of Ireland in the past.

Commenting last night as he prepares to formulate a short-list of potential candidates, the Derry director insisted that research would be completed on individuals who, the Board felt, would be suitable for the job.

“It’s no secret that we are seeking an individual who has experience in the League of Ireland; someone who boasts a good knowledge of players in our league and, possibly, a manager who has achieved success in the past,” he said.

Youth Structures a Priority

“However, another very important aspect is a manager who would be prepared to work within the structures we have in place already, particularly our youth structures, and help take them onto another level,” added Mr. Wallace.

Indeed, he heaped praise on the work being done behind the scenes by Derry’s youth development coaches, claiming that individuals such as Eddie Seydak, John Quigg and Hugh Harkin, have played an integral role in the development of the club over the years.

“We believe this work must be not only continued, but developed further,” he maintained.

“Our youth coaching staff have given exceptional service to this club and that must be maintained if we are to continue to develop young talent. They work day and night, sometimes seven nights per week, so a new manager would be expected to embrace the success of their work, connect with them and become an interested part of that set-up.

“Unknown to many, we have a huge structure outside the first team panel and while we totally understand that any new manager may wish to bring in players he has possibly worked with in the past, he must first take into account our out of contract players as a matter of urgency.

“We have a number who have fulfilled their contractural obligations and may well wish to remain with us, but that’s down to the new boss.

“We also would expect him to take into account those players who are striving to break into the first team panel so it’s vitally important that he connects with our youth team coaches in that regard.”

Mr. Wallace said many youngsters have aspired to play for their home town club and while that was always welcomed, he felt the club’s youth development still has a long way to go.

“The quality of the players we have are well known to managers who have worked in the League of Ireland but, at the same time, should we identify a well qualified coach who has not worked in the league, then we believe there are individuals at the club who would be capable of assisting any new manager in that regard, so it wouldn’t be a deal-breaker,” he claimed.

“Our preference, obviously, would be working in, or having worked in our league.”

Mr. Wallace also confirmed that even yesterday morning, the club received further applications for the post.

“We’ve received CVs from some candidates, direct contact from other individuals and contact made by agents and representatives on behalf of others.

“However, it’s also true that we have made contact with individuals we believe could take the club forward.

“We have spoken to some and we will be speaking to others before any short-list is agreed.

“And we will also take advice from individuals within the footballing family as we believe it would be very important to research information on potential candidates and, in that regard, secure references from individuals who would be respected within the football family in Ireland.


“Contact will be made and discussions will take place with other managers and players and ex-managers and ex-players, which will help us secure information on the candidates so that any new manager will be in a position to hit the ground running.

“Our intention to is to draw up a small short-list after our research has been completed - a short-list of three or, possibly four individuals - and then formally interview those candidates before a decision will be made.”

Mr. Wallace felt that on this occasion, time was on the side of the club, but he also hoped that any new boss would be in place before the end of the current month.

“Our chairman is currently on business in America and when he returns next week, we hope to be in a position to discuss the candidates and formulate the short-list of possible candidates.”

Delighted With Response

Mr. Wallace was also delighted with the response received, suggesting that the club’s decision not to advertise the post had been a positive one.

“We opted not to advertise the post and we felt the position would advertise itself and that has proved to be the case. We have attracted well qualified applicants from Ireland, England and Scotland, a good cross-section of people from within the League of Ireland who appear to be very interested in managing Derry City Football Club.

“Time will tell on how many actually tick the boxes, but from our point of view it’s good to realise that we remain one of the bigger clubs in Irish football, something which may have escaped us in he past.

“Having prepared players for football across the Channel has, obviously, been pivotal and in that regard we have gained huge respect from many top clubs in England.

“We are now well known and highly respected for our work on the transfer front and our reputation for developing talented young players continues to grow.

“So it’s now just about attempting to win leagues and cups at League of Ireland level, it’s much, much more than that,” concluded the Financial Director.