IT’S the transfer many Coleraine fans didn’t think they’d see again - Darren Boyce coming back to The Showgrounds.
The striker has signed on the dotted line for a third spell at his boyhood club, but he is under no illusions that he will have to win hearts and minds as well as score goals.
“I know that a section of the fans are surprised by the move and probably aren’t overly pleased either, but all I can do is go out and score goals and help the team win,” Boyce told Times Sport.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be back. I couldn’t believe it when Oran (Kearney) phoned me up and asked me to come back. I had already agreed a deal to go to Portadown, but once I knew Coleraine wanted me it was a no-brainer.
“As I say I’m aware not every fan is happy with it and I can understand and appr4eciate their view. In fact I told Oran once the news broke on Friday that if he wanted to pull out of the deal then I’d understand as I don’t want him getting abuse because of me.
“But he told me he wants me at the club and that is a big boost for me.
“I know the onus is on me to produce the goods and hopefully I’ll win people over with my performances. But if I don’t as long as they continue to support the team and the manager that’s all that matters.”
Boyce didn’t have the best of times at The Oval and he said he knew his time was up once Scott Young left the club.
“It was obvious the new manager didn’t want me there and when he said he was putting me on the transfer list it was a relief as I need a fesh start,” he said.
“The move didn’t go as I would have liked but I still finished as their top scorer. It’s behind me now and I’m focusing on Coleraine. It’s my home and where I grew up. To be honest it never felt right playing against them.
“I just want to get my head down and try and break into the team, which I know won’t be easy as they guys are doing really well.
“The most important thing in all this is that the team continues to be successful and I have no doubt we will be.”
Bannsiders boss Kearney is well aware that some fans may have an issue with Boyce’s return, but said his stats made him an ideal target.
“I understand that Darren has a history with the club and obviously some fans might not be pleased about it,” he said.
“But if I labelled Darren ‘Player X’ and said look at his stats, look at where he lives and look at the goals he has scored in this league it would be unprofessional of me not to go for him.
“I am the manager of this club and I have a duty not to do what’s right for me but what’s right for this club.
“I would probably take a lot of stick in September or October time if something happened Curtis Allen and we hadn’t a Plan B or someone to come in.
“As I said I feel it would be unfair to put the pressure on Mark Gillan or another young striker to expect them to fill Curtis’ boots that’s why we have to look at something like this.”
Kearney told Times Sport Boyce had agreed to take a big wage cut to return to the Bannsiders rubbishing claims from Glentoran boss Eddie Patterson that the players wasn’t happy on what was on offer from the Bannsiders.
“We have agreed a deal with Darren and I’ll be honest it was very easily agreed because he wants to come back here and he knows the club inside out,” he said.
“Darren has taken about two-thirds of a pay cut to come back here. He knows the sort of season he had last season and he knows where his career is at at this point in time.
“The key thing now is him agreeing a severance package with Glentoran.
“I thought it was a bit unfair of Eddie (Patterson) to come out last week and say Darren wouldn’t agree to this or that as that just wasn’t the case.
“The negotiations were over very quickly. Darren knows he is in no position to come back to this club and ask for x, y and z.
“We all make mistakes and he understands that and he’s just delighted to be getting another chance.
“I’m not asking the fans to accept him with open arms, I’m not asking them to do anything, or I’m not asking the other playing staff to do anything either. The onus is all on Darren.”