Bray civil war not my fight, reveals Alan Mathews
Published 13/01/2014 | 02:30
Despite accepting a job at a club torn apart by internal strife, Alan Mathews insists his return to management will be a relatively peaceful affair, after he was named Bray Wanderers' new boss at the weekend.
His arrival effectively spells the end of Pat Devlin's love affair with a club he has managed -- on and off -- since 1986. Hurt and angered by his treatment, Devlin is likely to make a public statement this week to outline his take on the events which led to his and Bray's divorce.
Out of loyalty, his back-room staff have also left, including U-19 coaches Jody Lynch and Stephen Fox, who resigned after their match on Saturday. "It has been nasty at times and there is a lot of bad feeling," said a source involved in the split. "A lot of players may leave too."
All of which does not concern Mathews.
"It has no impact on me," said the former Longford Town, Cork City, Drogheda United and Shelbourne manager. "I have a lot of time for Pat but whatever happened here pre-dates my time. If guys want to stay then fine, I will work with them. But if they don't, then I get fresh bodies in.
"I have two players on the books and have already spoken to several more about joining. The budget will be tight, and I need to get a squad in place and a shape put on the side very, very quickly.
"It's a fresh opportunity for me. When I left Shelbourne, I swore that I hadn't left football. I didn't want to leave the game on a sour note. This chance has come out of the blue and I will have a go at it."
Should he be given a free run at the job then there is no reason why he shouldn't be a success, which he was in his previous positions, most notably at Longford, who he helped win three trophies. Yet he arrives into a club with two distinct camps -- those pro-Devlin and those left behind.
"I can't get distracted by things I can't control," said Mathews, who saw midfielder Kevin O'Connor join Longford Town last weekend.
On a wider scale, Devlin's departure -- and Martin Russell's ongoing dispute with UCD -- effectively means that when the new League of Ireland Premier Division season kicks off, none of the 12 clubs will have a manager in place who has been at a club for longer than two seasons. Only five of the dozen managers have lasted a season in their current position.
"That's the culture of football," said Mathews. "It is the same in the English Premier League. Yet you have to think that some managers -- Liam Buckley and Stephen Kenny to think of two off the top of my head -- are in the early days of what will be a very long reign."
The tenure of the League of Ireland's 12 Premier Division managers -- seven of whom have yet to complete a season in their positions.
Manager Appointed Club
Liam Buckley St Pat's Dec 2011
Ian Baraclough Sligo Rvs Feb 2012
Trevor Croly Shamrock R Nov 2012
Stephen Kenny Dundalk Nov 2012
Stuart Taylor Limerick Jan 2013
Owen Heary Bohemians Nov 2013*
John Caulfield Cork City Nov 2013
Robbie Horgan Drogheda U Nov 2013
Mick Cooke Athlone T Nov 2013
Alan Mathews Bray Jan 2014
Martin Russell has taken legal proceedings against UCD and has been tipped to be replaced by Aaron Callaghan.
* caretaker manager from July 2013