Johnny Flynn relishing return to Ballymena United under David Jeffrey

Johnny Flynn, pictured here in action for Cliftonville against Ballymena United last season, will be back in the colours of the Sky Blues in the 2016-17 campaign. Picture: Pacemaker Press.

Johnny Flynn, pictured here in action for Cliftonville against Ballymena United last season, will be back in the colours of the Sky Blues in the 2016-17 campaign. Picture: Pacemaker Press.

Johnny Flynn admits it was the ‘David Jeffrey factor’ that convinced him to sign for Ballymena United.

Flynn has returned for his second spell at the Showgrounds following his release from Cliftonville.

The 26-year-old made 13 appearances for Ballymena during the 2007/08 season before securing a cross-channel move to Blackburn Rovers.

He also had a loan spell in the Football League with Accrington Stanley before moving to Scotland with Ross County and Falkirk.

Flynn has spent the last two seasons with Cliftonville – claiming successive League Cups and a County Antrim Shield – but is now preparing to play an integral part in new Ballymena’s challenge for the top six next season.

And with new manager Jeffrey at the helm, Flynn admits it is an exciting time for the Braidmen.

“I am delighted to be going back to Ballymena. I know the club well from before, so it won’t take long for me to settle in,” he said.

“It was an easy decision to sign for the club. When I met David Jeffrey I was ready to sign the contract there and then. He said he wanted me to be his first signing, and that filled me with confidence.

“He outlined his plans for the club and he sold it to me.

“David has signed a three-year deal. His main focus was on ensuring the club stayed in the Premiership and he achieved that.

“Sadly we missed out on the Europa League play-offs, but we are now looking to next season and progressing.

“The top six will be the aim, and also the cup competitions. The club has done well in the cups in recent years, but the club and the fans want to see progress in the Premiership.

“That is your bread and butter, so we will be aiming to climb the table next season.”

Flynn looks back on his two years at Cliftonville as being a success, despite dislocating his knee cap halfway through his first year at Solitude.

“I did it in the final of the County Antrim Shield in January last year,” he recalls.

“I was out for eight months and didn’t return until the opening day of the next season.

“But I played something like 70 games for Cliftonville despite being out for so long, and we won three trophies and the Charity Shield.

“I look back at that being a successful spell and I really enjoyed it.

“Obviously it was strange when Tommy Breslin left the club. He basically signed everyone in that changing room.

“But Gerard Lyttle knows the club well and he stepped in, so it wasn’t too big a transition.

“But that’s in the past now. I am focusing on a good pre-season with Ballymena and hopefully a few more new arrivals.

“It promises to be a big season for the club so we have to be ready,” added Flynn.