'Huge thing' to be back playing under Oran again

Fomer club captain returns to Coleraine, ready to fight for a place in the team

'Huge thing' to be back playing under Oran again

Howard Beverland.

By Damian Mullan


By Damian Mullan



IT can be pretty instructive listening to the opinions of players of other clubs, especially when they have just signed for Coleraine.

Take the case of Howard Beverland, for example.

A former club captain, the Ballymoney man racked up over 300 appearances in his first spell at the Showgrounds, before decamping to Crusaders.

The 30-year-old enjoyed league title success at Seaview but expressed his desire to leave with a year remaining on his contract at the Crues.

And when former manager Oran Kearney expressed an interest in taking him back to Ballycastle Road, Beverland didn't need to be asked twice.

"The experience of having been here when Oran was here, to have captained the club at that time, and to have maintained that relationship down the years is fantastic," says Howard.

"To see what he's done at the club and also during his time away is excellent.

"Being at other clubs people look on and see what Oran has brought to Coleraine, I think it's something every player would love to play under as there is no doubt a manager has a huge impact on players on and off the pitch.

"For me the manager is that snapshot of the club and very much the culture of the club as well. It's a huge thing to be back and play under Oran again," he adds.

It's not only the Bannsiders' boss that draws envious glances from those at other clubs, according to the experienced central defender.

"I know from having been at another club, players and teams are envious of the support Coleraine have," says Howard, who admits he faces a fight to get a place in the starting line-up.

"I wouldn't want it any other way. I wouldn't want to come back to a club and step straight back in again. Competition attracts you to a club, and you have to embrace it.

"Yes, you have to be patient and wait for your opportunity, but competition brings out the best in each other and helps bring the team together.

"I looked at an old squad photo I had up in the house, there have been some changes since then. I think Stevie Lowry and Curtis Allen and possibly Michael Doherty are the only ones still here.

"I look at the likes of Stevie and 'Skinner,' players who were here and left and won trophies before coming back, and they have contributed massively to the club and the success of the club moving forward. That's something I hope to do as well.

"I would hope I can bring that experience with me, I guess that's maybe how I've changed and developed as a player since I was here before.

"I've been privileged to win titles, win cups and play in Europe, I'd like to feel I can bring that to the table.

"There's a few guys here who have chalked up 200-250 appearances, there's a great blend and mix, which is the right recipe, you have the hunger and desire of the young players pushing the older players on, and you have the experience of the older players being leaders and role models.

"It's a great balance. There's a lot I intend to bring to the table, I've always had a hunger and desire to pull on the shirt and play for Coleraine, that hasn't changed.

"Hopefully, if that is the missing piece in the jigsaw, going for the league title, it's just real consistency over the season and dealing with the pressure of top six games, pushing on and backing yourself.

"Over the last three or four years people have been saying it's going to be a real competitive league. We're saying the same this season and a bit more as well. You are now looking at the top six, even seven to be honest.

"It's huge competition, it means standards have to be high and consistent as well every week. It brings out good preparation and discipline to be ready for games.

"Coleraine are a team that are right up there and other teams will increase the percentages to get a result. It will mean a much bigger thing to take points off Coleraine now to maybe what it was in the past.

"It's been a busy few weeks so it's good to get things agreed on. I've known Oran for a long time, including our time here in the past, so negotiations were straightforward.

"I've a good relationship with him as well as many others at the club, so it's been good to get things agreed. Yes, there's a sentimental thing of coming back, but this isn't a seeing out my career job, it's about coming into a club which has climbed through the ranks incredibly over the last few years.

"A lot of good foundations have been built here, I'm coming in to be part of a club that's really going places.

"It's a big part of my career to come back and come into a squad that's competing on all levels with fierce competition for places.

"I'm under no illusions, I've come back with a hunger to be part of that, and be part of this club moving forward."

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