David Jeffrey starts work on developing the next Sky Blues star

David Jeffrey admits it has been frustrating to see so many of Ballymena United’s high-profile stars leave the club this summer.

Saturday, 28th August 2021, 1:30 pm
Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey. Photo Desmond Loughery/Pacemaker Press

But while the likes of Shay McCartan have moved on to pastures new the Sky Blues boss said it is something of a backhanded compliment to the club given the role they have played in their development. Despite the frustration of seeing his protégés leave Jeffrey has already started work on developing the next group of Ballymena stars.

“We work very hard to bring players in and it’s pretty obvious the number of players that have left us and where they have gone and we have been pleased with their development.

“But along with that pleasing element is frustration, but that’s the reality of life.

“You have to accept it and get on with it. It’s the biggest backhanded compliment you’ll ever get.

“Everyone that has left us their career has moved on, and that’s something Bryan and I take great pride in.

“We’ve always tried to help players on their pathway.

“For us the challenge is where we go to get the next one.”

Jeffrey will be hoping some of his new recruits will have a similar impact as McCartan had in his one season at the club.

Although disappointed to lose the former Northern Ireland international the United boss was full of praise for the way McCartan went bout his business.

“Obviously Shay was the big one, but if I try to de-personalise it and take it out of football, if someone’s circumstances change and he is approached by another employer offering better terms and conditions then of course they would want to speak with them,” he said.

“In those situations you try and do what’s best for the player, but you also try to do what’s best for the club.

“Shay served us well and we wished him all the best.

“All I ever asked from him was to give his best while he was here, and he did that.

“There will never be any criticism of what he did on or off the pitch from me.”

Despite a hige number of arrivals and departures from the Club Jeffrey says he is still looking for additions.

“We’re still looking but it’s about availability and if we’re going to get exactly what we need,” he added.