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18th Jul 2016

Derry City manager boldly says no to Paddy McCourt for admirable reasons but fans are freaking out

Everyone else wants him now

Conan Doherty

This couldn’t have been an easy decision.

When Paddy McCourt is put on your table, it’s hard to look away.

32 years of age, a hero at many a club across the water, a Derry City legend.

Even Celtic fans are still feeling the after-effects of his departure.


But Kenny Shiels has declined the opportunity to bring McCourt back to the Brandywell. The Candy Stripes boss has been doing too much good work with the city’s youngsters that he doesn’t want to jeopardise it now.

The north-west outfit were supposed to struggle this season but it hasn’t panned out that way. Far from it.


And the former Kilmarnock boss is a man of principle – so much so that he has turned down the opportunity to sign McCourt, just so he can keep his promises to his youth.

“It’s my fault and I accept all the blame. There are people in the club who have said they would find the finance to bring Paddy in so it’s not down to the club,” Shiels opened up in a brilliant interview with the Derry News.

“I feel that it’s in the best interests of the club, long term, to try and continue this player development programme.

“Paddy is one of the best players I have ever seen and, if it had been the start of the season, I would have been desperate to get him in because we would have needed him. But the progress that the young players have made has left me in the mind that I think it would be unfair on them.

“I need to be able to look the likes of Josh Daniels, Ronan Curtis, Conor McDermott, Rory Holden, Aaron McEneff and Nathan Boyle in the face and not be a hypocrite.”

With clubs far and wide desperate for a player like McCourt, it hasn’t gone down too well in all corners of the Brandywell.

Some were a lot less considered.


Then, after the worst possible news… the WORST possible news.

Even the possibility is scaring people.

But Linfield won’t get a free run at him.

McCourt and Eoin Bradley, the dream team.

The main point is, he’s not going to Derry City.




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