NEW Cork City head coach Neale Fenn admits that it was a wrench to leave Longford Town but he couldn’t turn down such an opportunity.
Fenn, who played with City from 2004-06, winning the league in 2005, was yesterday unveiled as the club’s new boss on a two-and-a-half-year deal.
His first task will be to evaluate the current squad ahead of what club chairman Declan Carey described as “a three-year plan to get back up to the top”.
With Longford third in the first division, Fenn had some regrets about leaving, but he is keen to settle in to the new role, beginning with Friday’s clash against Sligo Rovers.
“It was a very tough decision to make but you have to make tough decisions in football,” he said.
“This was just an opportunity that I couldn't risk someone else getting. I had to go for it. The immediate plan is obviously to assess the squad and see what I've got to work with.
"I know there are probably players who haven't been playing recently that I can integrate back into the squad and try and get them playing to the ability that I know they've got. Then it'll be trying to sit down after that and trying to work out a plan for next season.”
Fenn takes over from John Cotter, who had been in interim charge since John Caulfield’s departure in May. Cotter continues to hold the title of assistant manager but could be set to leave the club this week.
Nevertheless, Carey is pleased that the Rebel Army have found the right candidate.
“He had a wealth of experience of working with the highest level of the game over in the UK, first of all,” he said.
“He's lived in Ireland as well for the best part of maybe two decades. He knows the League of Ireland, he's a former player here, he's 50 percent Cork as well so he knows the area.
“He's very keen on bringing through young, hungry Cork players, that resonated with what we wanted the club to do going forward. I'm sure we all remember Neale's playing style when he graced Turner's Cross.
"We know that's the way he's had his team set up to play as well over the last few years.
“We've seen Longford Town games. They played us in a pre-season friendly as well this season and we were very impressed with how they defeated us on that day, funnily enough. We think Neale is the right man for the job and the right man going forward.”