Donald: Time was right to quit Island

Stephen Donald. INLT 09-418-RM
Stephen Donald. INLT 09-418-RM

Stephen Donald insists the ‘time was right’ for him to quit Islandmagee FC and take up a new Amateur League challenge at Wellington Rec, writes John Gillespie.

As exclusively revealed by the Times, Donald’s eight-year reign at Wilbourne Park, which included the Division 1A title and the Clarence Cup win in 2008, came to an end on Monday evening after he agreed to take the hot-seat at Brookvale Park.

A well-known figure in the Northern Amateur League, Donald said he thought ‘long and hard’ about his decision to make the move to Millbrook.

“I have been at Islandmagee for eight years and I just needed a change,” he said. “Things had gone stale and I don’t think I could’ve kept them in the Premier League with the team we had because they are all getting to a certain age.

“I had been thinking about my future over the last couple of weeks. Welly Rec approached me last week and I made my mind up over the weekend that I was leaving. It has been a massive decision for me.”

Stuart Pike stepped down as Island’s assistant-manager at the end of the campaign and, according to Donald, some of the players indicated their intention to leave the club. And the experienced manager said he felt the ‘time was right’ to move on too.

He also confirmed key Island players Michael Moore, Andy Waide, Gary Workman and Chris Morton are set to join him at his new club.

“Wellington have the nucleus of a squad there already and I’ll obviously be bringing a few players with me,” he said.

“It’s a big club which has slipped to 1B. I’m not saying I’m going to be a miracle-worker, but I think it’s time that they got a bit of stability back to the club. It’s a new challenge and it’s a chance to do something different.”

Reflecting on his achievements with the Islanders, he added: “I’ve had some great memories and had some fantastic times there; the league title, the Clarence, the semi-final of the Steel Cup and the Border Cup final. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and know it’s the right time to move on.”

Meanwhile, Islandmagee chairman Crawford Wilson is inviting applications for the vacant manager’s role at the club.

Interested parties should contact him by calling 07879640499.