Paisley: I'll pass on my experience to young Bohs stars
STEPHEN PAISLEY laughs at the notion that he's seen as a League of Ireland veteran at the age of 29, but the former Longford Town man believes he can add some experience to a young Bohemians squad next season following his transfer from city rivals Shelbourne.
Paisley sealed his move to Bohs last week and made his debut for Aaron Callaghan's side in a friendly win over non-league side Rathcoole Boys yesterday, Bohs fans relieved to see a centre-half sign as the established central defensive pairing from last season, Evan McMillan (now Sligo Rovers) and Kevin Feely (now Charlton) have both left the club.
The ex-U21 cap amassed a wealth of league and European experience from his spells with Longford Town, St Pat's and Shels and boss Callaghan hopes that Paisley can help a youthful Bohs side next term.
"Having played against Bohs last season with Shels I knew they had a lot of very good young players but you also need to have a bit of experience and hopefully I can bring that with me and help the younger players along," said Paisley.
"Most of the players we have now are in their early 20s or younger and haven't played much League of Ireland football, so it will be up to the older heads like myself, Owen Heary and Dave Mulcahy to give a bit of guidance, and it's good to have Dean Delany on board as well. I played with him for two-and-a-half years at Shels and I know what a good keeper he is.
"But I am excited about the move to Bohs. I had another serious offer on the table after I left Shels but going to Bohs was an easy decision for me," he added.
With a small budget and an inexperienced squad in place, Paisley accepts that Bohs are unlikely to challenge for the title in 2013 but he is aiming for a top-four finish.
"Bohs finished mid-table last season and they'd like to improve on that and finish higher up, so that's what we will aim for," he says. "With the budgets that other clubs are working off it would be very hard for a club like Bohs to mount a real challenge for the league but if we can get off to a good start I think we could move into the top four or five, and try to go on a run in one of the cup competitions."
Ex-Shels men Paisley and Delany are among the main close season signing for Bohs with UCD duo Ciaran Nangle and Chris Lyons (UCD), ex-Newry striker Darren Hanaphy and Shane Murray (Sheffield United) also on board.