I won't play for Institute again: McCrudden blast after signing Derry City agreement
Michael McCrudden yesterday signed a pre-contract agreement with Derry City - and insisted he won't play for current club Institute again.
McCrudden, who says he made up his mind on where he wants to be weeks ago and is the Irish League's joint top scorer on 19 goals this season, will officially become a Candystripe in July after agreeing an 18-month deal with the Brandywell club.
But McCrudden, who has been in huge demand with Derry, Coleraine and even Port Vale interested in snapping him up, has revealed he will no longer play for Institute for the remainder of the season seeing as they refused to let him leave in this transfer window.
"I've told Institute I'm not going to play for them as they wouldn't let me go," said McCrudden. "I made it clear to Institute a few weeks ago that I wanted to move to Derry City, but they said no.
"I will just train with Derry three nights a week from now until I can play for them in July.
"I made it clear a few weeks ago that this is what I wanted to do, so I'm glad now that I'm getting it sorted out and I'm looking forward to July. Whenever I first came to Derry I was only 19 and just coming back from England. It was tough at the time, but now I feel I'm ready and more mature and hopefully I will do a good job."
McCrudden is currently the Danske Bank Premiership's joint top scorer as his 19 goals have helped fire Stute into seventh spot in the table. Having lost manager Paddy McLaughlin on Monday, it's another huge blow to the club's first season back in the top flight.
Please log in or register with belfasttelegraph.co.uk for free access to this article.
Institute chairman Bill Anderson, however, insists McCrudden will be expected to line out until his contract expires this summer.
"Derry City have not made an acceptable offer for Michael to join them now," he told the BBC. "Therefore, he remains an Institute player until the end of the season and we expect him to fulfil his contractual obligations as a professional player."
City boss Declan Devine, who unveiled five new players yesterday, is delighted to get McCrudden on board.
"We know that we are building for the future," Devine explained. "Michael McCrudden is a fantastic person and a fantastic footballer. He's the top goalscorer in the Irish League, he knows the pitch inside out, he knows the city inside out, he knows what it takes to play for Derry City. He's a player I hold in the highest regard and a person I hold in the highest regard and to get him on a pre-contract, we're delighted."
Former Bohemians forward Eoghan Stokes, Argentinian midfielder Gerardo Bruna and Scottish defender Darren Cole were all unveiled yesterday while the loan signing of striker Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe from Colchester United is also imminent.
The City boss is far from finished however. "We're building. The backroom team have worked as hard as anyone I have ever seen to get the right people. The board have backed me in getting the right players in so I'm delighted," he added.