Collins pulls no punches with blast at the past

WHILE the future of Cork City was being discussed elsewhere, manager Roddy Collins used the first major press conference of his tenure to take a swipe at the club’s past.

In his cross-hairs were former players who he accused of lacking loyalty to the stricken League of Ireland outfit.

The former Bohemians manager is confident he has the wherewithal to build a playing squad willing to play within the constraints of a €750 per week salary cap but lamented the loss of left-back Danny Murphy who yesterday finalised his switch to Shamrock Rovers.

“From a manager’s point of view, nobody’s irreplaceable,” said Collins when asked about the players who left the club during the off-season – the latest of whom was Stephen O’Donnell who joined Galway United yesterday.

“I’m disappointed they didn’t give more loyalty to the club. The biggest disappointment I had was Danny Murphy leaving. In my opinion, he’s the best left-back in the country.

“We’ve seen it elsewhere, everything is fine when players are taking home substantial amounts of money – more than they deserved in my opinion. Which has the club in the position it’s in at the moment.

“Since I came in I’ve said, whoever wants to leave, leave, it’s their prerogative. But if you’re going to stay, make your mind up soon.

“I look at things long term and if I earned substantial money over three or four years... every player knows that it was a gravy train. If you earned €750,000 over a period of time, would you turn around and walk away? I wouldn’t do it.

“If you’re half a man you accept there’s a financial disaster going on in the world, not just in your little house in Cork. You have to have some loyalty and respect to the people that did pay you over the years, whether it be one owner or another – ie the supporters of the club, so you don’t turn Turk on them.”

Collins became more animated as he turned to the theme of Cork City’s travails in recent years.

“I’ve looked back and I cannot believe the abuse that has gone on at this club with finances.

“Such a big club in a big city with a monopoly, how we could be sitting here now. It’s ridiculous.

“I’m not condoning what the owners of the club have done or how they’ve got into that situationbecause they obviously didn’t know what they were doing in the first place. To hand out the salaries that were handed out was an absolute disgrace, a massive abuse of finance and players laughed all the way to the bank.”

Collins said his priority now was to produce a team that can compete within its means.

“I will have players that have an ambition to come in and play with the club – like I did at Bohs. The first year was difficult – I got rid of all the deadwood, all the Happy Harrys on a jolly-up. We brought in young players and the club has never looked back.

“The Celtic Tiger is gone, the gravy train is over. You can run me out if you want. But as long as I’m here, everyone will get honesty because I’ll give it and I’ll expect it back.”

When contacted yesterday, Murphy said: “I am very disappointed to hear Roddy say something like that about me. He knows himself and anyone with anything to do with the club knows the players who left had to leave on two counts – they were helping the club out financially and helping themselves out financially.”

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