Steven Douglas calls time on his glittering Irish League career

Steven Douglas' illustrious Irish League Career came full circle on Saturday as he stepped on to the pitch for the final time.

Sunday, 30th May 2021, 6:21 pm
Updated Sunday, 30th May 2021, 6:24 pm

The 43-year-old was back at Inver Park where it all began for him in 1999.

Twenty-two years and a bucket full of medals and memories later 'Dougie' came on as an injury time sub for Coleraine in their victory over Larne as he called time on his career.

Douglas, who also starred for Portadown and Linfield over four decades in the local game, admitted he never thought he would be still be playing in the year 2021, but he paid tribute to boss Oran Kearney for helping him prolong his playing days.

Steven Douglas is given a guard of honour by the Coleraine and Larne players before Saturday's game. PICTURE: David Cavan
Steven Douglas is given a guard of honour by the Coleraine and Larne players before Saturday's game. PICTURE: David Cavan

"I started off down here at Larne in 1999, I didn't think my career was going to be that long," said the defender, who had his wife Paula cheering him on from the stands on Saturday.

"Paul Malone was the manager at that time and the pitch was like a ski slope, but I've great memories from my time here.

"I'm proud of myself, I've had a good journey, a good career, plenty of trophies, plenty of cup finals and plenty of European trips.

"I've enjoyed every minute of it, but it comes to an end at some point.

Steven Douglas pictured with his wife Paula receiving a bottle of champagne from Larne FC chairman Gareth Clements. PICTURE: David Cavan

"Oran has got me to where I am now. That's why I'm still able to do what I'm doing.

"He looked after me, he knew what I needed and he knew what he could get out of me.

"That's why I ended up at Coleraine for so long.

"I'm sure some Coleraine supporters maybe questioned it when I joined the club thinking "why are we bringing him in".

Steven Douglas salutes the crowd after making his final appearance in the Irish League on Saturday. PICTURE: David Cavan

"That was eight years ago now. Whenever Oran spoke to me I knew straight away.

"We're good friends and he sold me the club straightaway.

"I'll be honest I thought I was going to end up at Ballymena because I had spoken to them, but when Oran came in I said I was for Coleraine.

"I knew what the club was all about and I knew the direction he wanted to go in, and I knew how good a manager he was going to be."

Douglas has been an integral part of Coleraine's success under Kearney and he is sure to be a real asset at The Showgrounds as he starts a new chapter with the club.

"It's been some journey with Coleraine," he said.

"From trying to stay out of a relegation battle and to end up in cup finals.

"We've been up there challenging for four or five years now.

"And it's only going to get better! I'm just glad he's given me the opportunity to join the coaching staff and be involved still.

"Being involved is easy when you're with a club that's going places.

"I've worked with the kids that have come through down the years, the likes of Lyndon Kane, and I've spoken to them all.

"You see, if kids want to listen then they can kick on.

"I can only tell them what I know, I'm maybe not the best at giving advice, but it's up to them to listen and go on."

So for someone who has been there, done that and got the t-shirt in terms of Irish League success what are Dougie's standout moments from his career?

"I've had quite a few, but anyone who was at Linfield when I was there always talks about the Setanta Cup win, that was probably one of the best, but winning the Irish Cup with Coleraine is well up there with them all," he said.

"We worked hard to get that and we won it.

"Sometimes it's easy for clubs to get success, but when you have to work hard for it you appreciate it.

"As I say it is well up there as a high point for me."

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