Return to winter football not a good idea - Kenny

Derry City manager, Stephen Kenny, says that a return to winter football would be a step in the wrong direction for the future of League of Ireland football.

The Sunday Journal understands that the majority of League of Ireland clubs in both the Premier and First Divisions would be in favour dumping summer football for a season that would run at the same time as league competitions in England, Scotland and in the North of Ireland.

Although he conceded that winter football does have some redeeming features Kenny said that a return would be to the determent of creative players.

"In a recent poll the clubs voted in favour to a return to winter football. In my opinion it would be the wrong decision.

"The stadiums and pitches in the League of Ireland are not as progressive as some of those in England and Scotland; in bad weather Irish pitches cut up very easily."

Kenny explained that during the off-season he has spent a lot of time watching Irish League games all over the North. He said that as a result of the bad weather the playing surfaces are difficult to play on and it is because of this that he would reject any proposals for the League of Ireland to return to winter football.

"I think that when the League of Ireland changed its format to summer football it really benefited players like Paddy McCourt, Wesley Hoolahan and Keith Fahey. It meant that the creative player was able to play their kind of football.

"If the League of Ireland go back to winter football it would mean the return of the more physical player. Midfields would be overflowing with four across the pitch and any kind of creativity would be negated by poor playing surfaces."

Although he acknowledged that sometimes the atmosphere at matches during the winter is better Kenny argued that the football on show must come first.

"When fans come to football matches they want to see skilful players taking on a man and beating him. I think that had Paddy McCourt played the majority of his football during the winter he would not have flourished as well as he did.

"I think for Dublin clubs to say that a return to winter football would increase attendances is wrong. We have to maintain what we have and encourage the Paddy McCourts and the Niall McGinns of this world to do what they are best at."