Turkish Delight!

editorial image

DERRY City fans must wait until this morning before receiving confirmation on where the first leg of the club’s Europa League tie against Turkish side, Trabzonspor, will be staged.

And while the “Candy Stripes” had been drawn out of the hat second, there was no guarantee, at the time of going to Press last night, that Derry would be playing the first leg of the tie in the Huseyin Avni Aker Stadium in Trabzon.

In fact, the Brandywell club’s Chief Executive Officer, Sean Barrett, was involved in a meeting with the Turkish club’s delegation in Nyon last night, in relation to where the first leg would be staged.

However, when asked for his sentiments, team boss, Declan Devine, would prefer the first leg to be played at the Black Sea venue on Thursday, July 18th.

“I think it’s very important that we approach the Europa League tie professionally,” said Devine.

“I’d rather travel out there with a game-plan to keep the match alive for the return leg at Brandywell. However, I understand that Trabzonspor would also prefer to play the opening leg away from home.

“The possibility of television revenue may also come into the equation, so while I would certainly prefer to play the first leg away from home, I’m not going to make an issue if the club agrees to play the opening game at the Brandywell.”

There’s no doubt that Derry would have preferred easier opposition given that the Turks have won their Super League title on six occasions.

In addition, the club has spent heavily in the transfer market to challenge the more fashionable Istanbul-based clubs such as Galatasaray, Beskitas and Fenerbahce.

One such signing is former Spurs midfielder and Ivory Coast international, Didier Zokora, who joined the club in 2011 from Spanish club, Sevilla.

In fact, Devine actually managed another player currently plying his trade in Trabzon, ex-Dunfermline centre-half, Sol Bamba.