Dunfermline Athletic

Declan McManus Interview

Sunday, 12th Jul 2020

DM:- “My main job is to get goals and I think last season getting confidence back by hitting the net on a regular basis has helped me.“

Declan McManus has returned to East End Park on a two year deal, the former Morton striker joined the Pars on 15th June 2017 after leaving relegated Raith Rovers. Declan had a successful year but after Dunfermline’s narrowly defeat to Dundee United in the play offs he left to join Ross County.

Having spent last season banging in the goals while on loan at Falkirk, Declan is delighted to sign from Dunfermline for a second time. The twenty five year old told this website:-

“I am buzzing, delighted to be back and I feel that there is unfinished business for me here. I really really enjoyed my year here and leaving at the time wasn’t an option that was easily taken.“

Above: Declan lifts the 2017-18 Centenary Lifeline Player of the Year Award

Declan started his career with Aberdeen - making his debut for the Dons in a 3-0 defeat at East End Park in 2012. In a Dunfermline shirt Declan earned the admiration of the fans and picked up most of the 2017-18 Player of the Year Awards. He was disappointed with the way the season ended with defeat to Dundee United in the play offs:-

“At Tannadice I scored the goal that put us ahead and then had a big chance that looking back maybe could have sealed it at the time.

“It ends abruptly if you don’t get through and it was hard because we felt if we got through that tie we could have gone all the way. At that point I don’t think there was anybody who had agreed new deals, most of us were hoping for a new deal for the season ahead.

“I was disappointed to leave because I had really enjoyed my year here. I had won most of the Player of the Year Awards, was loving my football and felt at the time that the fans loved me and I was a big asset to the team.

“From the outside looking in it might look like I went for the money or I went to a club that I thought was bigger or better at the time but it was nothing like that. When the offer from County came I knew I was going to be going to challenge for the league again. Apart from that it was not a decision that I made easily because I loved my year here.”

Although only scoring four goals in his first season at Ross County Declan enjoyed his spell at Dingwall

“I only got four goals in the 45 games I played in that season - but it shows that I played a big part playing right midfield for most of it. It was not a position that I was used to but I learned a lot in the new position and did well.

“For me there was something missing there because I wasn’t getting chances in games and not scoring as many goals as I wanted but we had a great team, a great bunch of boys and we won two cups that year. It turned out to be a successful season but maybe not on a personal level. There are many boys who will go round their whole career and not win a cup. I managed to win two, so it was a successful time and I enjoyed that season.”

His move back to Dunfermline will re-unite Declan with former team mate at County, Ryan Dow. That is something he confessed to be looking forward to:-

“At the start of the season I was the main striker playing through the middle and Dowser was playing in a wide position. Dowser was brilliant, I still don’t understand why he ended up leaving but he went on loan to Peterhead. Then when he signed here I spoke to a few people and said ‘you have signed a really good player.’ Everybody knows that he has not had a bad career himself and I’m looking forward to him playing behind me and supplying me.”

In season 2017-2018 Dunfermline had good attacking players like Kallum Higginbotham, Joe Cardle and Fraser Aird and Declan was appreciative of that and is hopeful that next season’s supply can be as good:-

“We had good creative players and boys behind the strikers who could score goals as well. Watching last year from the outside the manager has obviously created a good squad at Dunfermline and it excites me that I am coming in to a good squad with good players behind me and Kevin upfront. He has scored a lot of goals and I can only help him. I can only imagine that he will help me as well so it is an exciting squad to be joining.”

A goals tally of 24 in 34 appearances for Falkirk last season clearly attracted the attention of Stevie Crawford and Declan feels that getting back to hitting the net with regularity was the whole point in getting out on loan:-

“I spoke to County at the time and they had said that I might only play 10 games in the Premiership. I am somebody who loves to play on a Saturday and to be giving my all for the team. Most footballers will tell you that Saturdays just don’t seem the same If you are not playing.

“My decision was to go to play 40 games instead 10. I knew that Falkirk were in League One but it was somewhere that I had to go and produce it week in week out. I was going from a Premiership club to a League One club but I always backed myself.

“I know that I could score goals when I’m in my position and enjoying my football. That is what I did. And thankfully I managed to grab quite a few goals.”

When Declan joined for Dunfermline the first time he was signing for his hometown team since he had moved to stay in Dunfermline and then moved back in November last year partly because he was on loan and got the vibe that he probably wasn’t going back to Ross County.

“Rather than leave it until the end of the season we moved before Christmas. Now we are settled and it now makes it easier that I have a two minute journey to training. It has worked out perfectly.”

While at Aberdeen Declan had loan spells at Alloa Athletic and Greenock Morton. Graham Alexander had signed him for Fleetwood Town but Declan had never crossed paths with Stevie Crawford and he admitted that the Pars gaffer was a big part of his decision to return:-

“I didn’t know the manager before. I spoke to him in January and he wanted to get me in then but at the time I just felt that what I was doing was working. I didn’t want to change it. As an outsider looking in Kevin (Nisbet) was scoring a lot of goals and at that point I wasn’t sure of systems the manager played. What I was doing was working and at the time I did not want to jinks it.

“I had a good chat to the manager and said it was a ‘no’ right now but come the summer then I would definitely be really excited to work with you. A few weeks ago he got in touch again and the interest was still there so I met him and for a striker speaking to a striker who has played at a high level, he knows what he is talking about.

“From the chat I knew that I could learn from him and he could help me because he has obviously helped Kevin. That is a big selling point for me but I got a general good feeling.

“Playing here before and loving my football here. Knowing everybody at the club it makes it a bit easier as well.

“It would be nice if I could replicate the Player of the Year Award this season with a few more goals. In the first season that I was here I had scored 13 goals by January and then dried up a bit. The Player of the Year Award showed that I was still contributing but as a striker you want to be scoring goals.

“At that time I was happy, enjoying my football even without the goals. I was still creating goals for Nicky Clark and I had a lot of assists so I knew I was still contributing which obviously softens it a wee bit.

“My main job is to get goals and I think last season getting confidence back by hitting the net on a regular basis has helped me. I thank Falkirk for that and I enjoyed every minute of scoring goals and being a number nine again. I think that can only help me going into this season. I have got that feeling back and I can use it to kick on again.”

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