Ivan Sproule had two stints as a Hibernian player (2005-/07 & 2011/13) and if the wind was blowing in the right direction (figure of speech) the winger’s performances usually gave the Hibernian faithful something to shout about.
The game that sticks in my memory was his Ibrox hat-trick way back in 2005 when on that occasion, we blew Rangers out of the water 3-0.
Born in Castlederg in 1981 the former Northern Ireland international left a legacy wherever he played.
He left Easter Road for the last time in 2013 and in doing so joined Ross County.
Homesick and the pull of returning to his native country Ivan cut short his Country contract packed his bags, and before he knew it he and his family, in 2014 upped sticks and waved Scotland goodbye.
On signing at Linfield local journalist, Stuart McKinley from the Belfast Telegraph interviewed Sproule on his home turf.
“I left Hibernian when everything was going really well. We’d just won the Scottish Cup, I was a favourite with the fans, but I wanted to test myself in England, and I had four years playing in the Championship (Bristol City).
“I had to try it, and I’ve always trusted my gut feeling.
“Even when I left Hibs for the second time at the start of this year people raised their eyebrows, but I did well at Ross County, scored a few goals and we only just missed out on European football.”
“I was still playing in the Scottish Premier League, but there comes a time when you have to make decisions with family in mind.”
Sproule continued: “I have three young boys now and being away from home there wasn’t much help for us. When the third one came along, if I was away it was putting a lot of pressure on my wife.
“I’ve had nine years in England and Scotland, had a great time, but it was just the right time to come home.”
Staying in Northern Ireland and with his playing days behind him, Ivan has decided to move into senior management for the very first time with Bluefin Championship side Dergview FC.
— Dergview F.C (@DergviewFC) October 26, 2018
“It’s a massive challenge but for me, (the immediate aim) is to get in amongst the players and let them know the demands of the club,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.
“I know its senior football and from my days in junior football with Dergview things have moved on quite a bit, but I’ve always been brought up with the understanding that Dergview is a winning club. No matter whether you’re playing Larne with the massive budget or Ballyclare, the players have got to represent the shirt. Dergview is a competitive club. They’ve always battled and have beaten some of the big boys.”
Talking about the clubs facilities, Sproule said: “The club are working tirelessly to upgrade facilities. I would like to leave, as much as a good footballing pedigree behind me, something for the Derview people in general, whether it’s a new clubhouse or changing rooms; these are aspirations for me. It’s about giving back into the community and the club. Hopefully, the long-term goal can be to see the club progress.”
Good luck with your new adventure Ivan.