Cork City manager John Caulfield has confirmed that Kenny Browne is set to leave the club after the centre back stated his desire to move down a division and join Waterford FC.
Speaking after his club's impressive Presidents Cup win against Dundalk on Friday, the City boss admitted his disappointment that the 30 year old insisted he wanted to swap challenging for the Premier Division title and playing in Europe, in favour of a move to the First Division and has described the situation as a “soap opera”.
"He informed me a few times in the past six weeks that he wanted to go. Late on Wednesday night he informed again that he wants to go, he doesn't want to play for the club,” said Caulfield.
"There was an offer on the table which Waterford refused to take for the last couple of weeks but on Thursday morning they agreed that they would match the offer. From my point of view, while it was disappointing, there had been issues in the sense that they had been onto him for the last two months non-stop and that was affecting the squad and things at the club.
"At the end of the day we need passionate players here; we need people who want to win and I always say this - if you don't have a happy squad you've no chance.
“Whilst I’m disappointed and Kenny was very good for me last year ultimately his head was turned since Christmas and he was doing everything to get out and sometimes you have to make that decision and we’ve made it so now we move on."
Browne, who enjoyed a season on Leeside, helping the club to lift the FAI Cup last November and also helping the club go on a good run in Europe. He had two years remaining on his current deal and Caulfield confirmed the club will receive a fee for his services.
"He's on a two year contract but obviously that doesn't mean anything in the modern game now,” fumed Caulfield.
“It doesn’t mean anything about people being contacted and obviously we were getting phone calls every second day for him to go back to them and it became a bit of a soap opera really.”
"It was a situation where they wouldn't agree to the original fee and the second fee and it came down to a stalemate. But when a player informs you he doesn't want to play for the club anymore you try to get it resolved and that was probably the most disappointing thing about it.
"We treated him really, really well here, the fans liked him and I was mad about him and it isn't nice that fellas don't want to play for you but you deal with it, you move on. He's not going to be our player.
"He was brilliant for me last season but he didn't want to be part of a league challenge, he didn't want to play in Europe and in fairness to him he told me all those things. Sometimes fellas are shocked but nothing shocks me nowadays."
"We've had a fantastic win tonight (against Dundalk) and we want players who are committed to the club because if you are committed and have passion and ability, you have a real chance.”
See here for match report on City's 3-0 win over Dundalk.