After two weeks and countless votes, the Derry public have spoken, and the winner of the Sports Personality of the Year for 2018 is Inverness’ Darren McCauley.
The news came at the end of a hectic week for the 27-year-old, who was announced by the Scottish Championship club as their latest addition on Thursday. He flew to Inverness to officially sign with John Robertson’s team on Friday morning, and made his debut as a substitute with 64 minutes gone in Saturday’s 2-2 derby draw with Falkirk.
It has been a long January for McCauley who was placed on the transfer list by Coleraine and had attention from several clubs, including Crusaders and Derry City.
When the news became official that he would be making the move to Inverness, McCauley took to social media to thank everyone for their support, and to explain the emergence of a photo on social media of his meeting with the Bannsiders Irish League rivals, Crusaders.
“Finally this saga is over and I can get back playing,” he wrote. “I didn't envisage leaving Coleraine FC this season but as the season progressed my position became untenable.
“Trust is important in football and the style of management wasn't for me. I let the manager know quite some time ago of my intentions to leave and it was best for both myself and the club that I move on.
“I was then understandably placed on the transfer list and during this time I have tried to conduct myself as honestly and professionally as possible. Changing clubs can be a stressful time for a player and unfortunately a picture surfaced of a meeting with a rival team, however, I can assure the fans that any negotiations were held with Coleraine’s full knowledge.
He continued: “These things happen in football but it's important to look for the positives. From qualifying for Europe, to winning the Irish Cup and challenging for the League, I hope I have helped to bring success to the club since I rejoined 4.5 years ago.
“I would like to thank Chairman Colin McKendry, the board, and all the players both past and present who gave me the opportunity to develop as a player and a person. Finally, I would like to thank all the fans who have supported me throughout my time at the club, it really does go a long way.
“I wish the club every success in the future and I hope that I have helped to provide some great football moments and to return to Ballycastle Road at some stage.
“I’m delighted to have signed for Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC. To be signing my first professional contract in the UK Mainland, at age 27, really is a dream come true.
“I always believed I was good enough and now it is happening. Thank you to everyone who has supported me and helped make this happen, I am so grateful.
“Thank you to everyone who hasn't believed in me, you motivate me. A risk, into the unknown and out of my comfort zone, but sure we're only here once. I can't wait to get started and hope to make everyone proud.”
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