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19 Jan 2022

Vinny Perth reflects on nine years with the Lilywhites as speculation over his future continues

Vinny Perth pleas to the owners to make the right call if selling Dundalk FC

Dundalk Head coach Vinny Perth (Photo: Ben McShane/Sportsfile)

Vinny Perth says nothing has been decided in relation to his own future as Dundalk FC head coach, amid speculation that the club will look for a new hire ahead of next season.

It is expected that Perth – who is out of contract at the end of the year – will not be retained, despite fulfilling his remit of keeping the club in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division after making a shock return to the Oriel Park hotseat back in June.

Andy Connolly of Fastfix, along with Statsports duo Andy Clarke and Sean O’Connor, have acquired the club from Peak6 – with all three assuming positions on the board.

Despite all but one senior player contracted for next year, their first task could be to find a new manager, with a shortlist of candidates already believed to have been compiled.

Understood to be currently heading that shortlist is Drogheda United manager Tim Clancy, who this season guided Dundalk’s local rivals to a seventh-place finish in the Premier Division after winning promotion as First Division champions last term.

However, the 37-year-old Meath native only signed a two-year contract extension back in July, meaning compensation would need to be agreed if he is to be prized away.

Speaking with The Democrat after Friday’s home defeat to Derry City, an emotional Perth said: “If I’m lucky enough to live to 100, I spent close to ten years at this club – that’s potentially 10% of my life and probably more because I probably won’t live to 100.

“In that period of time, I was a big brother to them (the players) and that means I wasn’t always great to them. Sometimes I had to be harsh on them or do things that they didn’t like. At the same time, I was there for them, but they were also there for me.

“We had amazing relationships with these people and not always good. That’s why I used the reference big brother. It’s difficult to know that’s coming to an end with so many of them people. From that end, it’s tough, it’s difficult, but I’ve got an amazing family and I’ve got a good support network around me.”

Perth refused to be drawn on speculation regarding his own position, instead deflecting the attention on the players, as well as the supporters who came out in force once again. 

“Football is about opinions and we’ll see. There’s no decisions made. Tonight’s about that farewell for the players, all of that stuff. I could have jumped into the shed and given everyone a hug. I wish I did, but it’s about the players sometimes. I left them at it and let them have their moment.

“It’s an amazing club. When you think of the great people that have followed this club for years all over the country – so many of them. That’s the connection that people see in it.”

Following stints in the dugout from Filippo Giovagnoli, Shane Keegan and Jim Magilton, Perth returned the Oriel hotseat in June – only 10 months after being sacked by the club.

In the wake of interest at the time from a consortium with links to Glentoran and First for Players, the agency for whom the recently departed Magilton is a client, Perth claimed that he would plead with Peak6 to return the club to the hands of local people.

“I took a huge risk coming back to this club,” he reflected. “I turned the job down. Then they came back to me two weeks later and I’d like to think I called that favour back in off Peak6 over the last couple of weeks and demanded and asked them to do the right thing.

“Over the last two weeks, they’ve put the club into potentially the right ownership and hopefully it is in time. No matter what happens, this club will continue to grow. When you look at the shed and you look at the last seven games here – seven wins and then tonight’s defeat.

“You need that sense of community and fans and it’s been brilliant. I’m immensely proud to be associated with this club and I’ll look back with huge pride no matter what happens. That’s not saying anything is decided. I’ll look back whenever the time is up here with huge pride.”

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