Having made his first competitive start in eight long months in St.Pat’s first win of the season at home to Drogheda United on Saturday defender Sam Bone made no effort to hide his ambitions for a successful 2021 campaign with the Saints following a slightly acrimonious RSC departure in the off-season.
Still only twenty-two Bone, who was born in Malaysia but grew up in England, has been through far more than any man should have had to endure particularly at such a young age having being diagnosed with testicular-cancer in 2014, at a time when Bone was attending trials with the likes of Manchester United and Sunderland. Having such opportunities torn away in those cruel circumstances would be enough to floor anyone but back bounced Bone who signed for Shamrock Rovers in 2017 and spent three-years at the Tallaght club before heading for pastures new with Waterford.
Despite only missing out on a place in Europe through nothing more than the width of a goalpost in Ballybofey on the final day of last season Bone revealed at a St.Pat’s virtual press conference today that both the playing and coaching staff at the RSC were met with a wall of silence in regards to plans for the forthcoming campaign which ultimately played a big part in his decision to seek new employers.
To the fans of Waterford FC. Thankyou for everything. 💙 pic.twitter.com/9eV0tY4ZbS
— Samuel Bone (@SamuelBone) December 3, 2020
“You’re left in the dark, no players heard anything, Fran Rocket took over and he didn’t hear anything, we haven’t got the beauty of three or four-year deals so you’ve got to do what’s best for you in this league and as I was injured at the time I didn’t want to stall and be left without a club but I got a text to say thanks for everything Sam and that was that” responded Bone off the back of a question in regards to the tweet he sent out following his Waterford departure where he described being left with a “sour taste” in his mouth.
Delving into deeper detail on how the move to St.Pat’s came about Bone revealed an operating room discussion over the phone with Stephen O’Donnell left him in no doubt as to where his next move was going to be.
“I got a phone call off the gaffer (Stephen O’Donnell) as I was about to be discharged following the operation, we spoke and he told me his plans and I know a few people who’ve worked with the gaffer before and they said he was very good and I’ve got to an age now where I still feel like I’ve got a lot to learn and this move excited me as I saw Pats as a team where I’d be challenging, and that’s the next step in my career now as no disrespect to Waterford but last year you were saying if we finish 5th or 6th we’d be doing extremely well.”
With that Waterford experience now behind him and a full bill of clean health to go with it following injury last term Bone is clearly keen to make up for lost time and take another step forward in his career by operating towards the top end of the league with his new side this season. And while his new manager Stephen O’Donnell certainly isn’t getting carried away by results elsewhere this early on in the campaign Bone had no issue in declaring his lofty ambitions for the Inhicore outfit in 2021 saying “we’re looking at challenging for the league and going as far as we can in the FAI cup.”
“In previous seasons Rovers won the league by how many points, Dundalk the previous year won it by many points, I think if you can start well and then maintain that throughout the season you’ve a great chance. With us maybe last year it would have been the so-called lesser teams who we struggled to get the points off, maybe that was a mentality thing because the bigger games look after themselves, it’s the trips to a Finn Harps or a Longford where you’ve got to go there and be professional and keep the standards high and if you can get points from those games like I said the big games take care of themselves and come the end of the season you’re going to be in a good place” said the former Shamrock Rovers and Waterford defender.