Wednesday 24 January 2018

Paisley not banking on contract reward despite season of success

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

LIKE most players in the domestic game, Stephen Paisley has yet to agree a contract for next season.

After gaining promotion and reaching the FAI Cup final with Shelbourne, the defender is hopeful of staying at Tolka Park for Shels return to the Premier Division.

However, Paisley doesn't get too stressed about his football future. During his time at Manchester City, he went to college and now combines his life as a part-time footballer with his full-time job on Bank of Ireland's currency desk.

Paisley played full-time when times were good, returning from City to play for Longford Town before spells at St Patrick's Athletic and Sporting Fingal, but he always had one eye on a career outside the game.

"It's very important to do something outside football, especially in Ireland," he said yesterday after receiving the Airtricity/Soccer Writers Association of Ireland Player of the Month award for November (right).

"It's not good the way the league is going at the minute. You're not going to get two and three-year contracts in Ireland anymore.

"If someone want to live precariously going from year-to-year, that's their own business. But, from a personal point of view, I think players should look outside football, whether that is going to college or getting a job," he said.

"It's very important that when your career finishes that the transition from football to normal life is easier."

As a youngster he played with the likes of Stephen Kelly, Glenn Whelan and Kevin Doyle and was at Lansdowne Road last week to cheer them to Euro 2012 qualification.

His good friend Stephen Elliott is still playing at Hearts and, he admits, there are times when he thinks about what might have been. But ultimately, Paisley is happy with how things have played out for him.

"The club I was part of is no longer there," he said of City.

"There is no comparison. There is so much money. I would dread to be a youth team player there now, trying to break into the squad with so many superstars ahead of you.

"I had a couple of options in Scotland and England, but it was a conscious decision to come back and do what I've done. In many ways, it worked out.

"I go over and watch Stephen, he's a good friend. When you see the big crowds, it's a bit more glamorous, a part of me wished I'd stayed over a bit longer, but I'm delighted the way things went here."

Talks over a new contract are at an early stage, the 28-year-old explained, but any experienced player in the League of Ireland knows that until the ink has been committed to paper it's good to keep the options open.

After his man-of-the-match display against Sligo Rovers in the FAI Cup final ended in tears, Paisley can now reflect on a season of real progress.

"Initially, I was disappointed a week after the cup final," he said. "But maybe we didn't expect to get to a cup final as a First Division club, we didn't pencil it in at the start of the season.

"We were delighted to get there and on the day, we acquitted ourselves well.

"Obviously, we would have liked to win the league, we let it slip away from us in the last quarter of the season, but overall, it was a successful season.

"The club is set up for the Premier Division and if we hadn't got that this year, who knows what would have happened? There is an element of relief."

Irish Independent

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