IRISH LEAGUE: David Jeffrey hopes Johnny Flynn experience stands Ballymena United in good stead

Johnny Flynn has returned to Ballymena United
Johnny Flynn has returned to Ballymena United

David Jeffrey believes Johnny Flynn’s experience will be an asset for Ballymena United next season.

Flynn has returned to the Showgrounds for a second spell 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 returned to the Irish League when he signed for Cliftonville in 2014, helping the north Belfast Reds claim two League Cups and the County Antrim Shield during his two years at Solitude.

“We knew Johnny’s contract was up at the end of this season and so we advised Cliftonville of our intentions and followed this up by speaking to Johnny,” said Jeffrey.

“He is well aware of the set-up at the Showgrounds having been here as a young player before heading across the water and to be honest, when we sat down a few weeks ago to discuss a move, he got what we are trying to do here and wanted to be a part of it.

“Although we agreed terms there and then we wanted to be fair given that Cliftonville still had the Europa play-offs coming up and so we did not release this information out of respect for club and player.

“Now that this season has concluded, I am delighted to finally be able to say that Johnny will be a Sky Blue again next season and we expect he will bring in the experience he has gained during his seasons across the water.”

Flynn becomes the third new arrival at the Showgrounds in the close season, following the signings of Kyle Owens and Cathair Friel.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey has announced a new wage structure at the Showgrounds which he hopes will bring out the best in his squad.

The incentive-based system has already been accepted by William Faulkner, Gary Thompson, Darren Henderson and Kyle McVey who have all signed new deals under the terms.

“Ballymena United are introducing a new wage structure with the terms and conditions of contracts having an emphasis on rewards for winning and match performance,” added Jeffrey.

“We are absolutely delighted that those players have shown their commitment by agreeing to extend their time at the football club under these new terms.”

New signing Flynn was one of three players released by Cliftonville this week.

The Reds also parted company with Marc Smyth – who claimed two Danske Bank Premiership titles and was part of four League Cup winning squads – and Paul George, while Caoimhin Bonner and Ciaran Murray have been placed on the transfer list at Solitude.

“It goes without saying that we thank all of our departing players and we wish them all the best for the future,” said Cliftonville boss Gerard Lyttle.

“We are currently in discussions with a number of Clubs for some of our other players and I envisage three or four of the remaining squad leaving before the start of the new season.

“I have identified a number of targets and the club are working on securing these players.”