Belfast Telegraph

Sean Ward: I have joined Crusaders to win more silverware

 

By Alex Mills

Versatile Sean Ward last night signed a two-year contract with Crusaders and warned: "I'm here to win trophies". The 32-year-old, who was part of Linfield's triple trophy triumph last season, insists he still has a burning desire to succeed. He is manager Stephen Baxter's third summer capture, joining goalkeeper Brian Jensen and striker Mark McAllister.

Having began his career at Glentoran, Ward was snapped up by cross-city rivals Linfield in 2013 but, under new boss David Healy, his game time was limited last season.

"I've been fortunate to have joined big clubs in my career, I've been very lucky," said Ward. "Every move I've made has been an ambitious move - this one falls into that category.

"Crusaders have been a dominant force in Irish League football for some years. I've played under some influential managers, including Roy Coyle and David Jeffrey. I'm now looking forward to playing under Stephen, which made this move an easy one for me.

"It was done very quickly and easily. It was something that I was very much focused on and driven towards."

Even after Linfield's triple trophy haul - the Danske Bank Premiership crown, Irish Cup and County Antrim Shield - Ward admits he had no hesitation in another move across the city.

He said: "I had a great time at Linfield, which was climaxed by the League and Cup double. It was a magnificent end to the season. I recently heard a quote that stuck with me... 'The past is perfect, you can never change it'. It's time for a new chapter and a new challenge.

"Crusaders have always had an abundance of good players. Paul Heatley burst onto the scene a few years back and made my life difficult at times, and big Jordan Owens was always a handful. Now I don't have that problem.

"They have always had good, strong leaders. It was the same with every club that I've played for. I left Glentoran to join Linfield because of my ambitions. I always felt it was the right decision at that point of my career.

"I feel this move to Crusaders is right - and it's something I'm really looking forward to. I'm friendly with a lot of the players and I've no doubt the transition will be a smooth one. I've had a rest for the past few weeks, I can't wait to get started.

"I probably didn't play as much as I would have liked last season, so I'm fresh."

Ward was known as the odd-job man at his two previous clubs, as his versatility allowed him to play in various positions.

He said: "It's not really for me to say what position I should play in. My preference is to play centrally, but I've played in every position. I even remember Roy Coyle playing me up front in a game against Dungannon one time.

"Versatility has been one of my strengths. Regardless of the position, I'll guarantee that I'll put in the effort and commitment for the benefit of the team.

"I am ambitious and I make no apologies for that. I want to play with clubs that are challenging for trophies. I've no doubt that every single player in our dressing room will be striving for the same goal at this club."

Crues boss Baxter believes that Ward can help the Crues back to the top of the local game.

"It's not every day we get an opportunity to sign one of the top players in this country," he said. "Sean is a player that I've known and admired for some time.

"I would have liked to have got him back in 2013 when he was moving to Linfield from Glentoran. But we have now signed a very experienced and established footballer. I know he'll be a massive influence in the season ahead."

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