New Institute manager Paddy McLaughlin said that was an honour to be given the top job at Drumahoe.
The 37-year-old, who stepped into the hot seat this week after Kevin Deery resigned last week, met the players on Wednesday night after his appointment and believes, just like him, the young players at the club need to step up next season.
“When I had the players meeting on Wednesday night I made sure that the U20s were invited as well, because as I told them they are a big part of the club,” he stated.
“They are the future of the club. I told them that they were in the same boat as me, it’s time for them to step up to the plate, like myself.
“It’s my first managerial job so I too have to step up, but I told the young players if they want to play first team football the opportunity is here for them now at Institute.
“It has been a hectic few days but I’m delighted now everything is sorted and the sooner everything settles down the better, so I can then get to work at it,” he said.
It’s my first managerial job so I too have to step up, but I told the young players if they want to play first team football the opportunity is here for them now at Institute.Paddy McLaughlin
“The first thing I did after speaking to the board was speak to the back-room team and then the players,” he added.
“I thanked the players for their support, because Bill (Anderson) told me that they were in full agreement that I got the job, so I was delighted to hear that. Then I gave them their programme for the off season and gave them a briefing of what’s expected for next year, so now I can’t wait to get started.
With skipper Stephen O’Donnell already departed to Coleraine, the ex-Derry City man will be working hard to keep the likes of Jamie McIntrye, Michael McCrudden, Niall Grace, Ryan Morrow and Stephen Curry.
“Every player is going to be valued, there’s not going to be a specific player that I’m looking to sign up quicker than any of the rest of them, they are all valued,” he added.
“I’m hoping to meet all of the individually over the next few days and weeks and get their head on it for next season.
“I know there’s club circling around players and probably rightly so because we have a talented bunch of players and no doubt there’s a couple who could play at a higher level, but if they could stay with us for the coming season I would be delighted.”
McLaughlin’s appointment as boss means he has completed an impressive four timer as player, captain, assistant manager and now gaffer, something that he didn’t realise.
“I didn’t really think about that but yeah it’s a bit unique and I’ve enjoyed my time at the club,” he said.
“I’ve a lot of respect for the people who run the club because I know how much hard work they put in behind the scenes, so to be offered those positions every time was an honour and it’s the same as manager.”
“Hopefully the managerial career will be as successful as every other position I have held at the club.”
McLaughlin much to his delight confirmed that Deery’s back-room team of Brian Donaghy, Kevin Doherty, Ally Pomeroy, Ruairi Lynch and Davy Clifford will remain at the club.
“My first day at the office was a good day, because everyone I rung told me they would stay on,” he confirmed.
“I spoke to the board and told them that I felt all the hard work that has been going on over the last few years, that it was best to keep things as they are and not rip things up and start again; thankfully they were happy enough with that and all the guys on the back-room team want to stay on.
“Sean Friars and Ryan McCreadie both said they would stay on with the U20 side and I’m also delighted with that because as I said those players are the club’s future.
“Last season whenever any of those young players stepped up to the first team for training or play in the 11 versus 11 games they showed their ability and that’s all credit to both Sean and Ryan, so I’m delighted they too have decided to stay on.”