Pat McAllister steps down as manager of Donegal Celtic

Former Donegal Celtic manager Pat McAllister
Former Donegal Celtic manager Pat McAllister

Donegal Celtic is a club in disarray after manager Pat McAllister, his backroom team, and a number of players quit on Sunday.

McAllister informed his players of his decision following a challenge game on Saturday, and confirmed his departure on Sunday morning.

Several players have followed the former Coleraine skipper, who was in his second spell as manager of the west Belfast club. Following a meeting with several senior members of the club last week, McAllister was informed of its dire financial position, and that there was no money for player wages or expenses.

What direction the club will take is anyone’s guess - though it is rumoured it may return to its once-held amateur status, or seek to consolidate in the NIFL Championship for the foreseeable future. Currently, not a single Donegal Celtic player has been registered with the Northern Ireland Football League - just five days before the new league season kicks-off.

It is believed that a number of voluntary staff at the club, including chairman Gerard Rooney, have quit.

Pat McAllister, who ended his 20-year playing career at Donegal Celtic, said: “I have reluctantly taken the decision to stand down from my position of first-team manager at Donegal Celtic Football Club.

“It was with a heavy heart that I reached this decision but [I] felt that the conditions explained to me by the club ahead of the new season did not match my ambition as a manager, nor my ambition for the team and its players.

“It is my firm belief that Donegal Celtic FC should be competing in the Irish Premier League and it was my sole aim to achieve that status once again... I truly believed that with the squad I had convinced to remain at the club following relegation last season, we would return to the Premier League at the first attempt. However, circumstances have changed and unfortunately, for sake of my career, and those of the players, I could not operate under such conditions and restrictions.”