| 11.6°C Belfast

Vinny Arkins is ready to lead charge for Portadown


Taking the reins: Vinny Arkins and Keith O’Hara will help Portadown through its current crisis

Taking the reins: Vinny Arkins and Keith O’Hara will help Portadown through its current crisis


Taking the reins: Vinny Arkins and Keith O’Hara will help Portadown through its current crisis

Vinny Arkins says he's determined to steady the Portadown ship and he could be remaining in the Shamrock Park hotseat for a long time.

Arkins has been named temporary manager following the departure of Pat McGibbon, however he would consider taking on the role on a permanent basis if the opportunity arose.

The Ports legend will be assisted in his role by coach Trevor Williamson and captain Keith O'Hara, but at the moment the Dubliner lacks the coaching qualifications to hold the position on a permanent basis.

Arkins, who only has a B Licence qualification, needs to attain an A Licence to manage in the Danske Bank Premiership and that is one of his major goals.

"I have taken on the post on a temporary basis after coming on board to help Pat and now that he has stepped down my priority is to keep the show on the road and do what the board has asked me to do," said the 46-year-old.

"I'm willing to help in the short-term and whatever happens in the long term is up to the club. I've expressed a willingness to help out the club and, while I have my B Licence, I want to work towards getting my A Licence. Since I stopped playing I have enjoyed coaching, and management is something that appeals to me."

McGibbon quit as boss last week in the latest dark chapter of a horrendous season for the mid-Ulster men. A 12-point Premiership deduction for paying former player Peter McMahon, even though he had been registered on amateur forms, leaves the club fighting for survival in the top flight.

The Ports, who are on the road to Ballinamallard United tomorrow, were already facing a transfer embargo in addition to being fined £5,000 because of a further registration breach involving Gary Twigg.

A failure to pay the fine led to a total ban from all football related activity in late July and, after their first scheduled league game of the season against Coleraine in August was postponed, the Bannsiders were eventually awarded the points and a 3-0 win.

McGibbon's departure on the eve of Saturday's 1-0 loss at home to Coleraine stunned supporters who vented their anger at the club's directors.

The Board's immediate response was to confirm moves to appoint two new directors and add a supporters' representative to the structure, while placing Arkins in temporary charge.

"What is important for me is to keep the players on board with what we want to do between now and Christmas," added Arkins who has coaching experience at Baldoyle United and Malahide United in the Republic.

"I'd like to change things around a bit. I've spoken with most of the players and there is a determination to battle on.

"It has been a very difficult time for the club with everything that has been going on, on and off the pitch, but there is a need for all of us to be realistic, from the boardroom to the stands.

"We will do the best we can and hopefully turn the corner.

"After the heavy 6-0 defeat to Dungannon we hoped to draw a line under things and move on in a positive manner but it has been a tough time for everyone. I know the challenges ahead are demanding but you have to belief and must work hard."

In their statement issued yesterday, Portadown directors attempted to allay fears regarding the club's future.

"Vinny has accepted the temporary position and we will use the 60-day window to move forward with the management process," said the statement.

"We would like to take the opportunity to put on record our appreciation for Pat's efforts during a particularly difficult period for the club and wish him all the best for the future.

"Following a selection process of potential candidates, Paul Jackson and Peter Hunniford are expected to be finalised on the Board of Directors within days, both long-standing fans who can bring expertise in business and finance.

"With a view to progress, we want to add fresh blood.

"We will contact supporters' clubs and ask for a nomination to take up an annual associate director role on the Board.

"This marks the first phase in restructuring developed from the summer, with the aim of moving forward together thanks to strength in numbers."

Belfast Telegraph