Football/Soccer

Cliftonville boss Paddy McLaughlin rules himself out of running for Derry City job

Cliftonville boss Paddy McLaughlin insists he is loving life at Solitude and has no interest in the vacant post at Derry City. Picture by Pacemaker
Neil Loughran

CLIFTONVILLE boss Paddy McLaughlin has ruled himself out of the running for the vacant Derry City job after the Candystripes parted company with Declan Devine.

McLaughlin started his playing career at the Brandywell and was among the first names mentioned when news of Devine’s departure was confirmed yesterday morning.

However, despite his obvious connections with Derry City, McLaughlin insists he has no interest in leaving Solitude.

“Derry men are always going to be linked with Derry jobs, and why would anybody not want to be linked with Derry City,” he said.

“It’s a fantastic club, a full-time environment and one of the best grounds and facilities in the league - but I love the job I have. I love the club.

“I appreciate the opportunity that Gerard [Lawlor] and the board have given me at Cliftonville and I don’t want that to end any time soon. It’s not something I have any interest in.

“At the minute I love what I’m doing, I feel as if the club and the team have come a long way since I came in two-and-a-half years ago and it wouldn’t be fair for me to get involved in any speculation or entertain anything other than Cliftonville.

“I love the club, love the fans, I can’t speak highly enough of the players. I love what I’m doing and I don’t want to change that any time soon.”

McLaughlin also expressed his sympathy for the departing Devine after a difficult start to the season cost him his job.

The Candystripes currently sit bottom of the League of Ireland’s Premier Division after six games, with four defeats on the spin and two subsequent draws leaving whoever takes over facing an uphill battle.

“I know big Declan well, he’s from Creggan like myself, and I was disappointed for him when I heard,” said McLaughlin.

“I know how passionate he is, how much he loves the club and loves the fans. To see any manager lose their job is disappointing, especially somebody close to you.

“But I’m sure he’ll not be out of the game for too long, he’s top drawer at what he does.”

After an inconsistent first half of the season, Cliftonville have pushed on impressively since the start of 2021, currently occupying fifth place with an eye on pushing further up the table before the end of the campaign.

Taking on the might of the full-time outfits operating at the top end of the Irish League is a challenge they have embraced head on, and McLaughlin admits he would love to experience working in a full-time environment at Solitide in years to come.

“The way the world’s going at the minute, Cliftonville’s not going to be full-time, can’t afford to go full-time any time soon, so we understand the challenge in front of us with so many others full-time in our division.

“We know we’re always going to be up against it but that’s part of the challenge. We love the underdogs tag.

“Players and coaches are all ambitious, they want to be involved at the highest level and a full-time environment obviously would be a step up from part-time.

“It’s something I’m sure we’ve all got ambitions to do as players and coaches and hopefully that opportunity will come here.”

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Football/Soccer