Fuming Cork City boss John Caulfield admits to losing Kenny Browne to Waterford in 'soap opera'
CORK City boss John Caulfield says that the Leesiders agreed to allow key defender Kenny Browne make a shock move down a division to join Waterford because uncertainty over his future was in danger of affecting other players.
Browne's return to his hometown side should be confirmed this weekend and Caulfield is not happy with how the 'soap opera' played itself out.
The 30-year-old centre half is under contract at Cork and they will receive a fee from Waterford for his services with the Blues pushing for promotion under new owner Lee Power with Director of Football Pat Fenlon and Head Coach Alan Reynolds managing football operations. Reynolds was a part of Caulfield's coaching staff last year.
Caulfield says that Browne told him that he wanted to sign for Waterford instead of challenging for a Premier Division title or playing in Europe.
"He informed me a few times in the past six weeks that he wanted to go," said Caulfield after last night's President's Cup win over rivals Dundalk. "Late on Wednesday night he informed again that he wants to go, he doesn't want to play for the club.
"There was an offer (fee) on the table which Waterford refused to take for the last couple of weeks. But on Thursday morning they agreed that they would match the offer so, from my point of view, while it was disappointing, there had been issues in the sense that they had been onto him for the last two months non-stop and that was affecting the squad and things at the club.
"At the end of the day we need passionate players here, we need people who want to win and I always say this - if you don't have a happy squad you've no chance.
"He's on a two year contract but obviously that doesn't mean anything in the modern game now," continued Caulfield. "It became a bit of a soap opera. Ultimately, his head was turned.
"It was a situation where they wouldn't agree to the original fee and the second fee and it came down to a stalemate. But when a player informs you he doesn't want to play for the club anymore... you try to get it resolved and that was probably the most disappointing thing about it.
"We treated him really really well here, the fans liked him and I was mad about him and it isn't nice that fellas don't want to play for you but you deal with it, you move on. The players knew about it yesterday (Thursday) and that was the situation. He's not going to be our player.
"We've had a fantastic win tonight and we want players who are committed to the club because if you are committed and have passion and ability, you have a real chance.
"He was brilliant for me last season but he didn't want to be part of a league challenge, he didn't want to play in Europe and in fairness to him he told me all those things. Sometimes fellas are shocked but nothing shocks me nowadays."
Midfielder Conor McCormack deputised at centre half in the impressive win over Dundalk in the absence of Alan Bennett and Jonny Dunleavy with Burton Albion loanee Ryan Delaney starting the match. Shane Griffin, a winter recruit from Reading, will also be part of the equation.
Meanwhile, the prognosis for Dundalk striker Ciaran Kilduff is better than it looked when he was stretchered off in the dying stages of the match. He sustained a serious cut below his knee that will require stitches - initially it appeared that the injury plagued player might have damaged ligaments.