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Cushley: My decision to sign for Crues is right call

By Graham Luney

Published 24/12/2015

On the move: Ballymena’s David Cushley will be a Crusaders player next season after agreeing a three-year pre-contract deal with the Premiership champions
On the move: Ballymena’s David Cushley will be a Crusaders player next season after agreeing a three-year pre-contract deal with the Premiership champions

David Cushley has admitted it was a very tough decision to join Crusaders from the start of next season - but he believes he has made the right call.

Ballymena United handed Cushley a new contract offer but interest from Linfield and the Crues raised the prospect of an exciting new challenge and the next chapter in his Irish League career will unfold at Seaview.

The 26-year-old will join Stephen Baxter's squad in the summer after agreeing a three-year pre-contract with the Premiership champions.

Linfield boss David Healy was keen to net the Sky Blues wizard, a boyhood Blues fan, but the prospect of helping the league champions win more silverware in the coming years convinced Cushley to battle for a place in the Crues squad.

"I weighed up all the options and I felt this was the best move for me," said the former Lisburn Distillery favourite.

"You couldn't join a better team than the league champions and I can see them winning the league again, the way they are playing and with the squad they possess.

"I was faced with a hard choice, not just in terms of what club to join but Ballymena United and Glenn Ferguson have been great with me and I'm determined to give everything I've got to ensure the club wins the County Antrim Shield and finishes as high up the league table as possible.

"Ever since my time at Lisburn Distillery 'Spike' has made sure I've improved as a player and it's not easy to leave the club but this is a challenge I could not resist.

"I don't know Stephen (Baxter) very well but from a few conversations he seems to be a gentleman and I know some of the Crusaders players.

"Like any player, I want to win trophies.

"At the age of 26 I feel this is a good move for me.

"Linfield also showed an interest and it is flattering to me but I just feel this is the right move and it's up to me to make the most of it and hopefully I can become an even better player."

Sky Blues fans who watched Cushley hit a wonder strike against Linfield on Saturday will be gutted to see their dangerman pack up his kit bag at the end of the season but the man who is in his second spell at the Showgrounds wants to give them something to shout about before he exits.

"I'm not the sort of person who will insist I have to go somewhere now, I've agreed to join Crusaders but not until next season so I'm 100 per cent committed to United," added Cushley.

"Some United fans will be disappointed and I understand that but I will play as I always do, giving it everything I have on the pitch and hopefully United can lift more silverware in 2016.

"I'll be judged, as always, on my performances and I remain committed to United."

News of Cushley's future arrival is a welcome Christmas present for the Crues supporters going into Saturday's home Boxing Day showdown with Cliftonville.

The Crues are eight points clear at the top of the Premiership and are red hot favourites to retain the title for the first time in the club's history.

Crues chairman Stephen Bell said: "Getting David is a sign of intent for us as we look forward to the future of the club.

"To get his signature at this stage shows that the club does not rest in its pursuit of the best.

"The lad has a super pedigree in Irish League football and that has shown with several other clubs looking to sign him but we have won the race.

"David will no doubt bring another edge to our play when he starts next season.

"He is the type of quality that Crusaders look for and his finishing in front of goal along with our other players will make us even more fearsome to the rest of the Premiership."

Experienced striker Tiarnan Mulvenna has joined Warrenpoint Town.

The 27-year-old had spells at Dundalk, Drogheda, Glenavion and Cliftonville before joining Town.

Described by Town boss Barry Gray as a "fantastic goalscorer", Mulvenna fills the void left by forward Daniel Hughes following his move to the Reds.

Gray has also brought in Cliftonville pair Martin Murray and Jonathan McMurray to the club on loan deals.

Belfast Telegraph

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