Carrick Rangers European ambitions for Jim Ervin as signing rejects ‘coast’ talk
Jim Ervin has rejected any talk of a relegation battle next season - and declared European ambitions for Carrick Rangers.
The 36-year-old renewed links on Wednesday with Stuart King, his former Linfield team-mate and current Carrick boss, as the first signing of the club’s fresh management era.
And Ervin wasted little time in drawing a line under any suggestion Taylor’s Avenue marks a career retirement home for one of the most decorated players of the modern Irish League era.
Ervin said: “People might laugh at the idea but I’m coming to Carrick to help push the club forward and feel it’s important to set goals...so why should we not look at the European play-offs as a target?
“Last season at Ballymena I made 26 appearances, with 25 of those starts and I considered myself fit and available for every fixture.
“I’m certainly not aiming to hang up the boots, former players always say you are a long time retired and, first and foremost, I’m at Carrick to help the team on the pitch.
“In conversations with Stuart I was clear in my ambitions and, having known him for a long time, appreciate he is also passionate and determined to move forward.
“I’ve always looked after myself and believe the time for cutting loose is once you stop playing.
“I feel as fit as ever and I was not suffering any major problems after games, so the challenge for me is to come here and do what I can as a player to deliver for Carrick.
“It’s certainly not a case of signing for Carrick to coast out these next two years of my contract.
“I 100 per cent look forward to playing a big role for this club out on the pitch and that was a key part of my early conversations with Stuart...to make my intentions clear about what I feel I can still deliver.
“People look at Carrick’s position off this season of second bottom but the previous campaign they finished eighth.
“You’ve got to be ambitious about your aims and certainly the season Ballymena finished second we caught the league by surprise.”
Ervin’s long-standing connection to King highlights the opportunity for a growing influence beyond his responsibilities as a player under a manager in his first season at Premiership level.
“Everyone has to start out somewhere and come from somewhere, so Stuart did a great job at Banbridge Town and there is a real buzz around the club given the exciting period now under a new manager,” said Ervin. “Part of the appeal is to be in at the start of something and do what I can to help move things in the right direction.
“Naturally across my career I’ve been someone who enjoys passing on whatever help to my team-mates I can deliver off my experience.
“And, as someone getting ready to do part two of my UEFA A Licence, it will be interesting to see from the inside that perspective on management and coaching.
“From talking to Stuart about his ideas for the project at Carrick it is exciting for the club and the next few weeks and months should be really interesting.
“A big driving force was the chance to help at a time there is so much buzz around the club and certainly I want to bring whatever possible to the table on and off the field to help Carrick move forward.”
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