DANNY Ventre took it for granted that he would be remaining at the Sligo Showgrounds for another year at least before team boss, Ian Baraclough, experienced a change of mind!
However, having already won a Premier Division Championship, three FAI Cups and a League Cup during his six years sojourn at the Showgrounds, the 27-years-old versatile midfielder had no regrets leaving the ‘Bit O’Red.’
And he made it abundantly clear that it was the persistence of Roddy Collins in attempting to sign him which helped him make his mind up.
“Roddy contacted me last July when I was at Sligo, asking me to join him in Athlone,” said Ventre.
“However, I was not keen to drop down into the First Division and I told him that.
“We kept in contact and when he secured the Derry City job recently, he rang me again and with my future at Sligo suddenly cast in doubt, I opted to go for it.
“I met Roddy on Monday, came to Derry on Tuesday and agreed the one year deal,” confirmed Ventre.
“At Sligo I had been informed by the manager that he wanted to keep me on and then, two weeks later, I was taken back into the office and told that I wouldn’t be receiving an offer to be kept on, so Roddy’s telephone call couldn’t have come at a better time for me,” he maintained.
“Roddy made me feel wanted and he insisted that I had a big part to play in his plans at Derry City.
“But I also opted to take advice from other players who had played under him and each and every one of them spoke very highly of him as a good manager and a good football man.”
Having joined Sligo as a 21-year-old arriving with Paul Cook who managed Ventre at Accrington Stanley, the scouser was always impressed with the football played by Derry City.
HAD TO BE FOCUSED
“You had to be at your best when playing Derry City,” he continued.
“They would always be there or thereabouts at the top of the league table every season and, especially when going to the Brandywell, you had to be fully focused or you would get turned over.
“Fortunately for me, my record against Derry City has been very good and I really enjoyed travelling up there for games.
“So joining Derry was never going to be difficult for me. Having played at the Brandywell regularly, I’ve also visited the city on quite a few occasions so I don’t envisage any problems in settling in when I travel up in January.”
While he will reside locally for five days each week, he will return to Sligo at weekends, but he said he will relish the challenge of representing a club which, he believes, is well placed to go forward and win things.
And while he has made his name as a holding midfield player, he not only scores goals but the Liverpudlian has also operated across the back four when injury forced him to help the team.
“At Sligo I usually played in the centre of the park, but on quite a few occasions I’ve played at centre-half or at right-back. I’ve also played at left-back, but that would be my least favoured position,” he laughed. “But I am looking forward to getting into pre-season training. I’m aware that Derry have quite a few young players on their books and, hopefully, I will be able to help out in that regard.
“At the same time, the club also has experienced and quality players who will keep me on my toes,” he concluded.
Describing Ventre as “a winner,” Collins said he was delighted to have him on board.
“Danny Ventre is a highly experienced campaigner having won everything there is to win in the League of Ireland. “We’re delighted to get him but there will be maybe two, three or four others coming in if I can get agreement.
“Young Rod (Collins) and Enda Curran have already been added to the first team squad,” he declared.