Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Mick McCarthy factor proved crucial in Doyle decision
Ireland striker Kevin Doyle admits the speed of Mick McCarthy’s advances convinced him to join Barclays Premier League newcomers Wolves.
Doyle completed his record-breaking £6.5million move from Reading late on Monday night after undergoing a medical.
The 25-year-old joins Wolves on a four-year contract believed to be worth £35,000-a-week after spending a week considering his options.
The much sought-after Ireland international was being chased by half-a-dozen top-flight clubs including Sunderland, Fulham, Bolton, Everton and Aston Villa. Tottenham and West Ham also joined the race late.
Wolves were the first club to open talks with Doyle and had already triggered the £6.5m release clause in his contract with Reading, who paid Cork City just £78,000 for his services in 2005.
Wolves made contact with the Royals immediately after their exit from the Championship play-offs at the hands of Burnley in May and quickly had a bid accepted.
Nothing happened for a month as the Wexford man returned home to recover from a calf strain sustained in the first leg of the play-off semi-final.
But after meeting with Wolves boss McCarthy and being shown around the club’s facilities last week, he needed just seven days to mull it over.
Everton and Aston Villa attempted to hijack the deal at the 11th hour on Monday night but Doyle’s mind was already made up — even though he could
have earned more elsewhere.
He becomes Wolves’ third signing after Nenad Milihas and Doyle’s former Reading team-mate, Marcus Hahnemann.
Unveiled yesterday morning, Doyle thanked Wolves for their expedience. ‘The fact that the day the season was over they put in a phone call and had a bid accepted, that interest straight away made me think “they’re keen”.
‘They came in and settled things with Reading so they were the first club I spoke to. I was expecting a long summer but Wolves were in straight away.
‘I spoke to the manager and chief executive over a week ago and came to the training ground to see everything. I’ve been making my mind up over the last couple of weeks and am just really pleased the decision has been made.
‘The facilities here are top class and it’s great to be going back to the Premier League again. I’m sad to be leaving Reading because I had some great years but I’m going with their blessing, which is nice. This is a fresh start.’
His exit signals the start of the break-up of Reading’s Irish contingent with winger Stephen Hunt next to move this summer, leaving Shane Long, Noel Hunt, Jay Tabb
and David Mooney at the Madejski Stadium while Doyle swaps one Irish camp for another.
He will settle in quickly with fellow internationals Andy Keogh and Kevin Foley already in the Wolves squad as well as former Under 21 forward Stephen Ward, while boss McCarthy played for and managed the national side.
Doyle will also link up again with American goalkeeper Hahnemann, who joined Wolves for free last month and who also influenced the striker’s thinking.
‘I’m leaving one set of Irish lads to join another as well as obviously knowing Marcus,’ he said. ‘It always makes it that little bit easier to settle in when there are a few faces you recognise.’
Doyle shot to prominence in Reading’s first season in the Premier League and hit the back of the net 13 times in 28 appearances — just the sort of firepower McCarthy will want to keep Wolves from avoiding the drop.
However, the FAI Player of the Year insists the top flight should hold no fears for the newly-promoted club after Reading’s amazing eighth place in 2006/07, when they narrowly missed out on Europe before relegation a season later.
He said: ‘We finished a point and a goal away from Europe when I went up with Reading. I don’t know why we did so well but we all went in there wide-eyed, excited and fresh to play and that got us through.
‘But it’s not a completely different world and you realise you can do well there. I wanted to get back there with Reading but we didn’t do it last season.
‘I’m delighted to be joining what is historically a massive club and one which will be trying to establish itself in the Premier League.’