Declan Devine: This is the People’s Club – we have to get a team that reflects that

Bohemians Media Conference

Ahead of his first game in charge of Bohemians, Declan Devine has said that he wants to build a team that reflects its people.

The Derry man, 49, was announced as manager of the men’s first team this day last week, started in the role on Monday and, tonight, he will take his place in the home dugout at Dalymount Park for the first time when Ollie Horgan’s Finn Harps provide the opposition.

Devine said: “I am very privileged to be here as the footballing figurehead of such an amazing club with such history and tradition. This is something that I am extremely proud of, but, as I said already, it’s something that I do not have time to celebrate.

“There is a huge amount of work to do over the coming days and weeks to get a team ready for next season, but we also want to finish this season on a positive note.

“I’ve only been in the door for four days, but I have loved absolutely every angle that the club is coming from. People are stopping me on the street to wish me good luck. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind.

“I’m planning on being here as long as I possibly can. I’m going to surround myself with people who want success. I’m going to surround myself with good people – people who love the club – and I’m going to do everything I possibly can to fill this stadium on a regular basis.

“We have got to make this a really difficult place for everybody to come to and enjoy our success in terms of winning individual games and building towards winning trophies, producing our own players and entertaining our supporters.

“I want that rapport; all as one with the players, the fans, the backroom team, the board, everybody. And we drive this place on to get the success we need.

“I have met people who have the heart and soul of this club in their own hearts, and that is something that really appeals to me and that I can relate to.

“I want passion and the people behind the scenes here have so much passion. I want work ethic and the people behind the scenes here have so much work ethic.

“This is the People’s Club – we have to get a team that reflects that.

“We have to have a team that is ready to fight for every inch out here. We have to have a team that represents the people paying their hard-earned cash and the people doing all these hours behind the scenes. They are the lifeblood of this club.

“But the top of that pyramid is the first team and we have to improve all aspects of the footballing side. I’m here full pelt to work and help everybody make the club a complete success.”

Devine is driven to recapture that work ethic and determination – a hallmark of Bohs teams throughout his predecessor Keith Long’s tenure but that has fallen far short this season – with the ultimate goal of bringing success back to Dalymount.

He said: “We’ve got to strive to bring silverware to this club. We are in a position this year where it hasn’t been good enough; a position in the league that we should never be in.

“I’m here to build a squad over the next year or so that’s really going to compete at the top end of the table.

“You see the investment that some of the clubs at the top are investing in the game at the minute but, for me, it’s about good people; having good people around you, who want to represent this football club and leave everything on the pitch.”

Devine will use the final three games of the season, starting with Harps this evening, to assess this season’s squad ahead of a rebuild in the closed season.

He said: “Right now, all I’m interested in is the next three games. I want to see that we have people here willing to stay here and fight for the jersey, fight for the fans, fight for their careers and be here long term. And if we can do that we can certainly build towards winning silverware.

“There are good lads who have maybe been dragged down a little bit this year and have lost a bit of confidence and lost a lot of self-belief.

“There are very good players here that, yes, we want to keep and we will assess that over the coming weeks.

“But the games and results don’t lie. So I need to look at who wants to stay at this club first, why they want to stay, and also who I want to stay and build my team around.

“I want to play the most attractive style of football that we can but we have got to get the right players to do that. We have got to have good recruitment. We have got to make sure that the players fit into the way that I want to play. We want to entertain, but we have to get the right people in who fit the mold.

“It’s a new dawn in January when we go properly full time. We have got to improve, we have got to get better. We have got to make sure that everybody who is here, whether it be staff or players, buys in 100,000,000%.”

One of those who will give that in spades is prodigal son Keith Buckley, who Devine yesterday announced as his first signing for 2023 on a three-year contract.

Buckley, 30, previously amassed 318 appearances for the first team in all competitions and will come back home this winter after a year abroad in Australia and be reinstated as captain straight away.

Devine added: “I’ve spoken to Keith on numerous occasions over the last week. His appetite, his love and affection for this club is everything I want.

“He’s coming straight in as my captain from today even though he’s in a different country. He is going to be on the WhatsApp groups. He’s going to be talking to the players.

“But look, that’s the type of DNA I want. This club has to mean more than just picking up a wage. It has to be ingrained that it’s about winning.

“Keith Buckley brings that in abundance. To say I’m delighted that he’s going to be here is an understatement. He’s everything that I want in my team.

“I’m absolutely over the moon to have him as my first signing and I think it’s a statement of intent of where we want to go.

“I’ve said we want people who will fight for the club, and there is no better man.”

Please note that while the Jodi Stand is sold out for tonight’s game, tickets for the Des Kelly Stand remain on sale at


Bohemians are without the injured Jon McCraken, James Talbot, Ryan Burke, Laurenz Dehl, Tyreke Wilson, John O’Sullivan, Johnny Afolabi and Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe, while Chris Lotefa is a doubt.

Declan McDaid and Josh Kerr return from injury, while Jordan Flores is available again following his one-game suspension.

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