An emotional Eddie McCallion struggled to hold back the tears after he made, what many believe to be, his last appearance for Derry City when he came on as a second half substitute against Shamrock Rovers at the Brandywell on Friday.
It was revealed earlier this week that 33 year-old McCallion had been offered a two year deal by Irish Premier League outfit Glenavon. It is thought the attraction of first team football is what has enticed McCallion to entertain the move.
“It’s hard to take to be honest, because I have spent so long at this club - it’s not easy.
“I am sad to be leaving Derry but I am thankful to Glenavon for offering me a two year deal.”
McCallion joined Derry City from Blackburn Rovers in 1997 and has since gone on to make more than 500 appearances for the club.
McCallion replaced Barry McNamee in the 88th minute against Rovers but even during the half time warm up the fans were singing ‘there’s only one Eddie McCallion’.
After the game he was approached by several fans who wished him well and had photographs taken with him.
“The fans were singing at me as I came out at the start of the game, at half time and then at the end too.
“Since I joined Derry all those years ago the fans have been nothing but amazing to me. They are just top class supporters and without them I don’t know where this club would be. I can’t speak highly enough of them,” he said emotionally.
He added: “It was nice to come out and play and it’s just a pity we didn’t get the three points tonight.
“I have loved my time at this club. It’s not often you hear of players staying with the one club for 15 or so years like I have done.
“I have had some great experiences with this club and I also think that being from here makes it easier too.”
The ‘Sunday Journal’ understands that McCallion travelled to Mourneview Park in Lurgan to discuss personal terms with Glenavon boss Gerry Hamilton yesterday evening. It is expected that he will be unveiled as a Glenavon player tomorrow afternoon.
“I plan on doing what I have always done and that is to work and train hard. I am not going to change who I am.”
Right-back McCallion went on to say that he would hope to return to the Brandywell in some form or fashion in the future.
“I wouldn’t rule anything out. I have a lot of respect for this club but I have to move on and work hard for Glenavon now.”