THE McFALL YEARS: Arkins’ praise for transfer strategy

Vinny Arkins and Ronnie McFall celebrate the club's Irish League title triumph in 2002. Pic by Pacemaker Ltd.INPT10-180

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Vinny Arkins and Ronnie McFall celebrate the club's Irish League title triumph in 2002. Pic by Pacemaker Ltd.INPT10-180 PTFOOTBALLPFC15

The story of Vinny Arkins’ arrival at Shamrock Park from Notts County has served as a testament to the powers of persuasion possessed by Ronnie McFall.

That combination of financial support from the Board of Directors aligned with McFall’s in-depth database of players resulted in a transfer which would define the late 1990s and early 2000s at Portadown.

McFall refused to let Arkins walk away from negotiations until a deal was confirmed for the striker to sign on at Portadown and ignore all other offers for his services.

Arkins, over the subsequent nine years with Portadown, ensured the time spent by McFall in transfer talks and £10,000 delivered from club officials to Notts County proved priceless.

The former Ports captain and all-time leading goalscorer is just one key signing captured by McFall in pursuit of silverware.

“We started that season with probably four or five signed but then Ronnie snapped up people like Gary Hamilton and Peter McCann,” said Arkins. “That was always one of his greatest strengths, I even remember Ronnie coming down to watch me play in the League of Ireland and trying to sign me from Shelbourne.

“He used to come down and watch games on a regular basis and seemed to track players over a long period.

“He liked to bring in a certain type of player, someone maybe with experience at a professional club or certainly having a background in schoolboy or youth international football.

“The idea would be they could come in and hit the ground running thanks to that solid foundation.”