Bitter row has pushed me to the brink reveals Colin McKendry

Coleraine chairman Colin McKendry says the latest wranglings in the Irish League have made him consider his future in the game.

Coleraine FC chairman Colin McKendry
Coleraine FC chairman Colin McKendry

There is still no solution in sight for the resumption of the Danske Bank Premiership three months on from the suspension of football due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A split emerged last week as nine clubs rejected the NI Football League’s two proposals on the table - playing two more rounds of fixtures from July 20 or decide the table by a mathematical model.

A meeting was held amongst those clubs, before a further teleconference went ahead with all 12 premiership clubs on Thursday evening where a proposal of finishing the season at a later date and European places handed out using standings after teams had faced each other home and away once - the so-called ‘22-game’ proposal.

That would see Coleraine, who currently sit in second place in the table, four points off leaders Linfield, miss out.

McKendry let his feelings be known as the debate got heated and he is irate at how things went.

“Personally I feel some let their clubs and communities down. It caused me great hurt,” he said.

“The 22-game proposal is insulting to the people of Coleraine.

“If you are going to disregard what happened in nine games you may null and void the rest of the season.

“Players worked their socks off to go and get results in those games, fans paid hard-earned money to go and watch those games, but now we’re saying those games don’t matter.

“It leaves you to question the sporting integrity. All we want is honesty and transparency.

“The whole thing has pushed me to the brink.

“The easy thing to do would be to walk away from it all, but I feel Coleraine deserve to be represented.

"My biggest frustration is clubs sought to excude us from a meeting on Thursday.

"That was hard for me to take as in my opinion we are the biggest provincial club, and we proven that to be the case.

"We are a well run club and are at the top table on merit.

“As a member club our voice deserves to be heard and I certainly won’t be rail-roaded down an avenue if I don’t think it’s in the best interest of the club.

“We are a small league of 12 teams and yet we cannot come together and make a decision at this time.

“I fear this wrangling has set the game back 10 years here.

“I am very proud to say I played a part in helping to bring the game to where it is today.

“NIFL has done a fantastic job and the progress in our local game has been excellent.

“However, what happens after all this is worrying,” he added.

With UEFA ExCo meeting on Wednesday NIFL announced that it would enable them " to make decisions based on fact rather than speculation".

McKendry said that if it had been possible it would have been better to make any proposals once UEFA had given further direction.

"I don't think any of us thought this issue would go on for so long," he said.

"Probably, looking back, it would have been advisable for us to wait until UEFA gave us some direction so we could then make an informed decision, but they put their initial meeting back from May 25 to this Wednesday, so that wasn't possible.

"All we could do was go by the guidelines set down by government with regards the return to sport.

"We as clubs delegated responsibility to the Steering Group, and really if anyone had any issues with the group it should have been brought up at the time."