AUTHOR: Kieran Burke – @Kieran_B_Sport.
Tim Clancy’s star has been on the rise ever since he was appointed Drogheda United manager in December 2017. Steady progression year on year on a tight budget had Clancy’s name being whispered for bigger and better things with all due respect to Drogheda United and in truth, it looked only a matter of time before a bigger fish would come calling when the Trim native not only guided the Drogs to the First Division title and promotion in 2020 but to a comfortable mid-table finish upon the Louth clubs return to the elite level last season.
Shelbourne had reportedly come calling for Clancy prior to appointing Ian Morris as boss in 2019 but eventually, it was St.Patrick’s Athletic who were to lure Clancy away from Head In The Game Park when the Saints were suddenly left looking for a replacement in the wake of Head Coach Stephen O’Donnell’s shock departure for Dundalk, just days after the Saints FAI Cup triumph at the Aviva Stadium on November 28th.
With an opportunity to manage in a full-time environment as well as the chance to lead a team into Europe this season and perhaps challenge at the very top-end of the table, it was a no-brainer for Clancy to say goodbye to Drogheda United but speaking to the press today for the first time since his appointment at St.Pat’s, Clancy revealed his delighted upon seeing so many of the young talents he worked with at Drogheda last season securing big career progressing moves to clubs in the UK.
James Brown (Blackburn Rovers), Daniel O’Reilly (Hamilton), and Killian Phillips (Crystal Palace) have all earned moves across the water in recent days and their former boss Clancy revealed these moves were the culmination of discussions had before the start of last season.
“It’s great to see young lads do well, I sat down with a lot of them this time last year and said to them just give us (Drogheda) one more year in the Premier Division, because there was a lot of interest from other Irish clubs, and everything we sat down and spoke about then has come to fruition in regards to opportunities they’ve gotten. ”
“Tt’s good when that happens because it’s not just hot air you’re shouting and telling them about, you’re promising them this and that and the other and it doesn’t come true, but the fact the lads have got their moves off the back of the season we had at Drogheda last year was brilliant for them and subsequently, it’s been beneficial for me that we had a good season last year and I’ve been given a brilliant opportunity in managing Pats”, remarked Clancy.
Given such departures at Drogheda, many would argue now appeals as the ideal time for an ambitious manager like Clancy to move on to a bigger and better opportunity and when presented with such logic the man himself certainly didn’t dismiss such a suggestion. However, Tim Clancy had no issue in hiding the sadness he felt upon realising his time at Drogheda had reached its conclusion as the new St.Pat’s boss paid tribute to those who made his time in Louth such an enjoyable experience.
“I hadn’t hidden my ambitions of getting back into full-time football again, I absolutely loved it at Drogheda for the four years I was there and I had a brilliant relationship with the chairman and then we had a brilliant set of players and working with Kevin (Doherty) and Sean Brennan, it was a brilliant season we had and it was quite sad actually because it went very quickly in the end, but as soon as the Pats interest came it wasn’t ever something I was going to turn down, but it was sad to leave Drogheda, but I’m really excited and grateful to be getting the opportunity to manage St.Pat’s”, said Clancy.
Clancy has since been replaced by his former number two Kevin Doherty in the Drogheda United hot-seat despite the fact many onlookers assumed the double act that had proved so successful together at Head In The Game Park would arrive as one at Richmond Park. When asked if this had been a possibility at any stage during the transition from Drogheda United to St.Patrick’s Athletic, Clancy informed the press in attendance that he had held discussions with Doherty before the former Shelbourne manager decided deep down he still had to desire to make it on his own as a first-team manager.
“Me and Kev (Kevin Doherty) would have spoken about this quite a lot over the last few years, Kev obviously has a career in the Post Office for the last 17 years or so and that’s not something you just walk away from either, plus the fact we sat down and I asked him why he had done the pro license and we were just talking about it and I said it’s because you want to manage again and he said I think I might want to, so I think, when that opportunity (the Drogheda job) came up he’s obviously been delighted to get that opportunity at Drogheda and he’s brought Daire (Doyle) in and they’ve put together a good squad, so having had the four years together with Kev it was great to see him get that opportunity as well as a manager”, commented Clancy.
Turning attention back to the new task at hand for Tim Clancy, that being trying to build on the second-place league finish and FAI Cup win obtained by the group last season, the 37-year-old has seen his new club do some good business in the transfer market with Joe Redmond and Mark Doyle following their manager up the road from Drogheda while high profile additions such as Eoin Doyle, Tunde Owolabi, and Anto Breslin will have Super Saints fans excited for their team’s prospects in 2022.
One area the Saints are still searching for reinforcements in is between the sticks with on-loan goalkeeper Vítězslav Jaroš returning to parent club Liverpool during the off-season. Tim Clancy’s number one at Drogheda last season, David Odumosu is currently trialing at clubs in the UK in the hope of becoming the latest Drogs player to earn a move across-channel but his old boss Clancy refused to be drawn on a potential swoop for the Ireland under-21 international should such a move fail to materialise for the ex-Dundalk youngster.
“The situation with the goalkeeping position is obviously Vítězslav Jaroš was in last year and was an exceptional loan for Pats but there are other options and options in the UK, we’ve another lad coming in tomorrow who’ll be training with us and playing games so there is going to be options and again, the season doesn’t kick-off for another four weeks or so and we’re conscious going into the pre-season games we’ll get that position sorted and we are hoping to have a few more added to the squad in the next week or so”, concluded Clancy.
Listen to Kieran Burke’s chat with Tim Clancy in full below.