Ports legend Arkins offers helping hand

Pat McGibbon and Vinny Arkins during a previous appearance by former Ports players at Shamrock Park.
Pat McGibbon and Vinny Arkins during a previous appearance by former Ports players at Shamrock Park.

Vinny Arkins - Portadown’s all-time leading goalscorer - has offered to step in and help save the club from a relegation battle.

Arkins enjoyed league and cup glory with the Ports as one of the game’s modern greats but also rescued a struggling Shamrock Park side from the drop zone.

Now he wants to return to Portadown in a coaching capacity and produce one final salvage mission.

The Ports stand eight points off a top-six position having played 29 Danske Bank Premiership games - but the same tally away from basement outfit Warrenpoint Town.

Arkins has played a key role in the rise of Malahide United up the Leinster Senior League standings, plus devotes time to youth coaching with the club’s teenagers.

“Portadown will always be an important club for me and I enjoyed the best years of my career at Shamrock Park,” said Arkins. “It was sad to see everything end for Ronnie McFall on Saturday with his resignation.

“I think back to winning the league in 2002 then the Irish Cup and I had some brilliant times.

“The key was we had such a great group and you went out playing with a smile on your face.

“I would love to see those good times back at Portadown and would be happy to help out in any way I can.

“I have my B Licence and could fast-track the A Licence in the summer if required but it’s more a case of coming in now and working with the club to try and turn around the season.

“Coming up from Dublin is never a problem and it would be great working around the place.

“I would offer my help in any way possible and think I could help build up the confidence levels again and get the smiles back around the club.”

Arkins’ playing career included multiple spells in professional football across the water to stand alongside his current coaching experiences.

“I said it years ago and saw it happen in the League of Ireland, youth development is the way forward,” said Arkins. “With the financial restraints then you have to look within and promote your own players.

“If one has the talent to get across the water then that is great but it is also about bolstering your own senior squad.

“We have lost maybe 10 players from Malahide over the past few months because League of Ireland clubs are all looking to junior football now for young signings.

“There are players capable of playing at a much higher level around the Leinster Senior League and going in that youth direction just makes sense from a financial viewpoint.”