Saturday 17 March 2018

Collins vows to 'go again' despite pain of Derry axe

Roddy Collins
Roddy Collins

Garry Doyle

Roddy Collins – sacked by Derry City last week – is determined to rebuild his managerial career as soon as possible despite the immense stress that his job loss caused his family.

While Collins had already used his newspaper column to highlight the negative impact one of James McClean's tweets had on him personally, he has subsequently gone into greater detail about that particular incident, claiming his children were victims of school yard bullying.

The 52-year-old lasted only five months and 13 games at The Brandywell before being removed from his position 12 days ago – prompting McClean, a former Derry City player, to negatively tweet about his record.

"We are in the public arena and there is no one with more opinions than me," said Collins on Newstalk's Off The Ball programme. "I don't use Twitter, but it (McClean's comment) was brought to my attention by my kids – who took some abuse in the school yard over it because he has a high profile. So I had to take them out of school.

"I am long enough in the tooth to know that a manager will get stick, but when I see young kids or my wife get grief over a game of football, that galls me. It was very difficult last week because the kids were extremely upset and when they are annoyed, I am doubly so. They are my priority."

Collins' priority now is to return to a workplace which is notoriously volatile.

"I am ready to go again," he said. "I have done nothing wrong and believe I did a good job – getting three wins, seven draws and three defeats from 13 games – that was not bad. I don't doubt my own ability. If another opportunity arrives, I'll go for it.

"I am looking at (Louis) Van Gaal at 62 – and I have a few years on him. I still have the enthusiasm to go back again, but it is an awful experience to lose a job. It is public execution and when it comes down hard on the family it can be tougher again.

"But I will go back. At the end of the day, when you do an honest day's work and treat people with 100pc integrity, you can sleep well at night. But if some people have a different agenda – and use their influence to undermine a manager, an assistant manager, a player or a coach – they are the ones who have problems."

The problem Collins now faces is getting another meaningful post. Having managed at Bohs, Shamrock Rovers, Dublin City, Monaghan United and Athlone – he has burned a few bridges and seen a couple of former clubs fold along the way.


And his record is mixed. At Bohemians he won a league and cup double – and both Athlone and Monaghan were skilfully guided to promotion at the first attempt. However, his win percentage in the Premier Division since 2001 is just over 20pc. Despite all this, the Dubliner retains an iron-clad belief in his abilities.

"I have no regrets. You have a method and it works in some places, but not in others," he said. "All you need is honesty, loyalty and integrity all wrapped up in one, along with decent players – not necessarily the best players in the world, but men who work hard.

"It is simple enough. When you have all that – any club moves forward no matter what league you are in. And I have done it in different jurisdictions.

"You have to believe in what you do. I will never pick a team on the back of supporters or media. Ever. But that was probably the sword I fell on."

Did he feel he had support from the Derry players? "I won't go into that."

Elsewhere, as the League of Ireland transfer window prepares to open, clubs are getting ready to shop for talent. Yet most of the comings and goings look set to revolve around Shamrock Rovers, whose chase for Cliftonville's talented striker Liam Boyce has been affected by Linfield's generous counter-offer.

Rovers also made it clear yesterday that their two star players, Ciaran Kilduff and Ronan Finn, would not be moving to Chesterfield, in spite of the interest their boss Paul Cook has shown in them.

Karl Sheppard looks certain to move. Dundalk, St Pat's and Sligo Rovers are all interested in the striker, but Rovers will not sell to a title rival. Limerick seem his likeliest destination; Cork City are also contenders for his signature.

Meanwhile, Pat Fenlon has been strongly linked to a director of football position at Limerick FC. The former Bohs and Shelbourne manager – who won five League of Ireland titles before being headhunted by Hibs in 2011 – has been out of work since leaving Easter Road last November.

Irish Independent

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