Waterford manager Alan Reynolds admits he agonised over whether to remain for another League of Ireland season.
After finishing fourth in 2018, the Blues were sixth last season on a reduced budget.
Stung by the loss of their European place and reduced crowds, owner Lee Power considered pulling out of the club over the off-season, only to pledge his commitment for another 12 months in December.
Reynolds, in charge of his hometown club since their promotion season of 2017, spurned offers of coaching roles at other clubs to stay in Waterford. Ahead of their opening Premier Division game on Friday night at St Patrick’s Athletic, the 45-year-old confesses he still wonders if he’s made the right choice.
“It took a lot of thinking to decide whether I would stay on and I still think about it,” he said.
“I knew from meeting the owner that there would be more cutbacks. Lee hasn’t got the backing from the local community and there was the disappointment of losing our place in the Europa League.
“Up to recently, I only had 11 players signed but we’ve built it up to 17 now.”
Reynolds has lost most of his squad from last season, including Ireland U21 winger Zack Elbouzedi to English League One club Lincoln City, but insists he is working with a determined young bunch.
Another Ireland U21 cap, Manchester City left-back Tyreke Wilson, has joined on a permanent deal.
“A lot of our players have a point to prove after being released by other clubs,” Reynolds noted. “The reality is I’ve recruited players considered not good enough elsewhere. They have plenty of motivation. We can give them the platform to kickstart their careers.”