Institute captain Ruairi McClean has revealed that he turned down the chance to return to the IFA Premiership with Ballymena United during the transfer window.
The Limavady man could have secured a substantial pay rise had he chosen to make the move to Braid side but says he preferred to see out the season in the Championship at the Riverside.
“I would be lying if said that that I hadn’t considered accepting Ballymena’s offer. I’ve recently moved to the Coleraine/Ballymena area and obviously I’ve worked with their manager Wesley Gregg during my time at Institute. With the chance to move back to Irish League football it was a very tempting proposition.
“But Institute have been very good to me over the years. This is my third spell at the club and I have a lot of time for the people at the club. I’ve always had a good relationship with John Gregg and he showed a lot of faith, he made me captain this season and that’s a responsibility that I take seriously. John has been working very hard to construct a squad here within serious financial constraints. He lost a lot of experienced players in the summer and we have a very young squad here and I just felt that I would stay here until the end of the season at least.
“I have to say that Institute have acted very honourably throughout this process. There was a clause in my contract that said if a Premiership club came in for me that Institute wouldn’t stand in my way and the board were good to their word, they weren’t obstructive in any way. I just decided to stay.”
Club chairman Trevor Hewitt paid tribute to his captain for the loyalty he has shown to the Institute.
“We are delighted that Ruairi has chosen to remain with us. He has turned down the chance to play Premiership football at Ballymena and the chance of few extra pound to stay with us. It’s a sign of real commitment to the club and says a lot about the kind of lad that Ruairi is. We have a very young squad here and having Ruairi here for the rest of the season will be of real benefit to them,” he said.
Meanwhile one player who could yet be on his way from the Riverside is Joe McCreadie. The young attacking tyro was watched again by Derry City boss Stephen Kenny at the weekend and Hewitt admitted that if the right offer came along that the player could move across the Foyle to Brandywell.
“We are aware that there is interest in Joe but there’s been no official approach. If an offer was made and was at the right level right and Joe wanted to move then it would be a possibility,” said Hewitt.
One cross town move has been confirmed with 22 year old left winger Adam Clarke having moving from Derry City to Institute until the end of this season.
On the playing front Institute manager John Gregg will be looking for a quick up-turn in form this week. Following Saturday’s disappointing WKD Cup exit at the hands of Banbridge Town the manager is under pressure to gain positive results from last night’s league encounter against Larne and Saturday’s rearranged game against Ballinamallard which has a 3pm kick-off.
Article printed in Londonderry Sentinel