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Newry City chairman says he kept his nose out

By Graham Luney

Newry City attempts to persuade Gerry Flynn to return to the Showgrounds hotseat appear doomed to fail.

Flynn quit after a series of disagreements with club chairman Paul McKenna and the players expressed their anger at training last night.

The former Coleraine and Cliftonville player’s departure stunned players, officials and supporters but McKenna has hit back at claims he attempted to influence team selection.

Flynn was angry at “things going on behind the scenes” but the chairman issued a statement yesterday in response to those claims.

McKenna said: “It was with initial shock and regret that I learnt of Gerry Flynn's resignation late on Tuesday evening after the Coleraine game.

“Like many football clubs and football club officials, we have experienced difference of opinions and have had disagreements in the past, however I never felt at any stage relationships had broken down to such a degree as to warrant resignation.

“I want to make it unequivocally and abundantly clear, no individual at NCFC, including myself, have interfered with first team selection or demanded particular player inclusion or exclusion, it is my prerogative as chairman and as one of the club’s senior custodians to discuss first team matters with the manager, as I do with the reserve team management, and the Academy staff to ensure that the football department is moving in tandem with off field activities.

“I wish to make it clear to all involved with the club that I will work in close proximity with all relevant club personnel to rectify this situation as quickly, seamlessly and as painless a fashion as is possible, and as swiftly as possible to ensure minimum disruption to the football department at the club.

“Finally, I personally want to extend my sincere thanks and gratitude to Gerry, Peter and Stephen for their service and efforts at the club over their tenure, irrespective of current events and I wish to express my genuine gratitude for their work and dedication shown towards Newry City FC.”

All eyes will be on how the Newry players perform at Crusaders tomorrow, with reserve team boss Robbie Casey likely to take charge. Flynn said he hoped the players will do the business in north Belfast but he won’t be there to see events unfold.

“I’ve had a chat with the chairman and with hindsight things could have been done differently,” said Flynn. “After being involved in football for 20 years it is going to be hard to take a break and I’m still gutted.” City will also take on the Crues without their skipper, Stephen Ferguson, who must serve a suspension.

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