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Devlin hurt by Bray exit

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Pat Devlin speaking during a press conference at the Clyde Court Hotel. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Pat Devlin speaking during a press conference at the Clyde Court Hotel. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Pat Devlin speaking during a press conference at the Clyde Court Hotel. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

PAT DEVLIN has confirmed that he did not walk away from Bray Wanderers, after he was replaced as manager after almost three decades of service with the Seagulls.

And the 60-year-old says he is disappointed that he has been replaced by a new management team of Alan Mathews and Barry O'Connor, two men who played under Devlin at the club.

"I have no animosity towards them, I just feel they should have stayed out of this dispute until it was settled," Devlin said. "I just think that they should have probably checked in with me.

"This is the most disappointing thing to happen to me in football, it's not a football decision. I don't know what it is and I have to be careful, but I am not happy about the situation, but there is no going back. It's done, good luck, they want to run the club their way."

There was a dramatic end to the 2013 season when Bray secured their survival in the Premier Division with a late winner against Longford Town in a play-off, but since then it's been a period of turmoil for the club.

The success of securing their Premier Division status for a tenth successive season – only three other clubs (Bohemians, St Patrick's Athletic and Drogheda United) have been in the top flight for all that time – has been diluted by those off-field problems.

They culminated in a late-night announcement on Friday that Mathews had been installed by the club as the new manager in place of Devlin, who had effectively been first-team boss since 2010.

Since the end of last season, key players such as Jason Byrne, Gary Dempsey, Kevin Maher, Kevin O'Connor and Kieran Marty Waters have all left for rival clubs, while Devlin and his entire backroom staff have been axed.

Apart from a spell between 1990 and 1995, Devlin has been associated with Bray for their lifetime as a senior club, winning two FAI Cups and countless relegation battles, and his exit as manager hurts, though the matter is not yet finished as he is still a shareholder at the club.

"I am extremely disappointed, for myself, but more so for the people behind the scenes. The support group I have had have been magnificent and for them to be let go, in the fashion this has happened, is very unfair and very disappointing."

Devlin says he attended Friday's annual awards night hosted by the Soccer Writers' Association of Ireland under the assumption that he was still manager and hours later the club issued a press release stating that Mathews was now in charge.

Having served the best part of 30 years with Bray Devlin, 60, is now close to the official retirement age, but he still wants to stay in the game.

"If another club came in for me, I'm a human being like everybody else, I want another challenge, I want another challenge tomorrow morning," he said.

"If there's someone out there who wants an assistant manager or a director of football or somebody else to help them, then I'm here, I love it."


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