NICKY LOW insists he leaves Derry City with a ‘heavy heart’ but felt it was time to return home to his family following a difficult season.
The Scottish midfielder played 57 games for the Candy Stripes, scoring three goals since making his debut against Bohemians at Dalymount in February 2017.
He’s been a fans’ favourite since his arrival, initially on loan from Dundee, and while he claims Derry feels like a ‘second home’ after two years at the Brandywell club, he believes it’s now time to spend time with his wife, Natalie and his family circle back in Greenock.
And the former Aberdeen midfielder revealed he had made up his mind to leave the club midway through the season and has even contemplated hanging up his boots for good!
“I’ve really enjoyed my time,” said the Scotsman. “I’ve enjoyed my football and really got on well with everyone at the club and the fans who made me feel welcome. So from that part of it it’s really hard to leave but from a personal point of view it’s time to try something else.
“My wife is back here in Scotland living so I wanted to get back and spend some time with her. I want to spend time with my family and hopefully I get something sorted in Scotland.
I’ve always been true to myself and tried as hard as I could. No one could say I never tried. I leave with a very heavy heart and I wish the club all the best.Nicky Low
“There’s no place like home,” he added. “It’s been very tough with my wife being back home in Scotland and my niece and nephews growing up and my little sister sending videos and pictures of them. It is tough and you just want to see them.”
Low was one of the club’s top performers during the 2017 season as Derry finished fourth in the table but the 2018 campaign has proven to be a frustrating one as battled with niggling injuries before his successful hernia operation saw him make a timely return for the EA Sports Cup Final.
He admits it has been a long, lonely return to full fitness as he watched frustratingly and helplessly from the sidelines. In fact Low claims he’s experienced more ups and downs in two seasons with Derry than he’s faced in his whole career.
Ryan’s McBride’ tragic death at the beginning of 2017 had a significant impact on the player and Low says the loss of the much loved captain put his own life into perspective.
“There’s been more ups and downs here at Derry than in my whole career elsewhere, good and bad. When your winning for a few games you’re feeling on top of the world and then when you lose a few games it’s rock bottom.
“The loss of big Ryan put a lot of things into perspective in life in general. When I was injured I started to miss everyone back home and I decided I needed to spend time with my family. From 16 years-old since I was at Aberdeen for years and the Dundee so it will be nice to spend some time with them at home.
“I also had a lot of injuries with a hernia basically the whole season until I got it sorted. Personally I take defeat really bad and I’ve been stuck in a flat myself and it was really tough.
“So I made my mind up halfway through the season that it was time to go. Everybody at the club and the fans have been brilliant to me. It’s a place I’ll hold close to my heart and it’s like a second home now to be honest.”
Low has job interviews lined up upon his return to Scotland but says he give football ‘another go’ in January as he looks out for a new club.
“Sometimes I was thinking about chucking it,” he revealed. “Just with injuries and I feel I’ve not been at my best and then sometimes I feel really good. The last couple of years I’ve learned to listen to my body.
“I’ll maybe give it another go in January in Scotland and I’m sure Ill get something sorted. If I don’t enjoy it then maybe I’ll look into something else. I’ve applied a few jobs and I have an interview next week for a job so I’ll take it from there.”
Low is ‘sad’ to leave Derry City and the many friends he’s made at the club after a disappointing season but he hopes the club bounce back next year.
“I’ve tried to give it my all and worked hard. I’ve always been true to myself and tried as hard as I could. No one could say I never tried. I leave with a very heavy heart and I wish the club all the best.
“Hopefully the club will build a good squad and compete. We lost a lot last year and this year again. People are looking for better money especially the older players.
“Derry is a good platform and then the boys look to get moves to improve their careers. It happens everywhere and I know it’s hard and the fans get frustrated about that
“You then can’t get players in because there’s no time in the close season and it’s just recycling - a circle. Hopefully they sort it out next season and get back into Europe.”
Low promises not to be a stranger and is already planning on visiting Brandywell in the near future when the likeable Scot will no doubt be welcomed with open arms.
“You never know what football brings and if I wasn’t to sign for Derry again in a few years down the line I would definitely come back to visit. My friends and family all loved the place when they came over.
“When I mentioned it to a few close pals a few weeks ago they said we’d need to try and get a weekend over. So hopefully I get a weekend off and can come over again soon.
“It’s sad the way it ended as it’s been disappointed. It is sad because I want the best for the club and obviously the fans. It was a bad season overall. Winning the cup was good but I will definitely be back to the city.”