Ian Ryan: 'I felt that going to Bray was an opportunity that I couldn't turn down'

Ian Ryan admits he ‘could not’ turn down the opportunity to take over the reins of Bray Wanderers.

Ryan was in charge of the Seagulls First Division rivals Wexford before stepping down as boss in November.

And after being ‘in limbo’ for a number of weeks, the Dubliner took charge of the Wanderers as head coach.

“It’s a while ago now but it was a crazy couple of weeks,” he told extratime.com. “I had a great time at Wexford and really enjoyed it.

“The club were great to me and we did well there as a staff and a group of players. But for me I think it was just time for a change.

“I had a few weeks in limbo and then I had the opportunity to take over at Bray. I felt like it was an opportunity that I couldn’t turn down.

“It is a club with a great tradition and history, but it hasn’t been at that level in the last couple of years. That’s the challenge.”

The Seagulls endured a miserable campaign in 2022, finishing in the bottom half of the table and missing out on the play-offs.

But 2023 offers Bray an opportunity to start again and impress under Ryan.

“It’s not too dissimilar to what I would have gone into at Wexford with the disharmony from the outside,” the former UCD assistant boss explained.

“But we need to get everyone together between the supporters, players, the community and everyone in the club.

“We want everyone to come together and get Bray back to where it was. A vibrant club with good attendances and an exciting team. That is our overall ambition.”

While at Wexford, Ryan caught the eye as boss and turned the Ferrycarrig Park outfit into one of the surprise packages in the second-tier last season.

And despite missing out on the play-offs, his reputation as a manager within the League of Ireland grew.

“I’m probably one of the youngest managers in the league but my playing career ended early so that probably forced my hand going into coaching as early as I did,” he said.

“Hopefully I can bring an experience to the group and I know what the league is about.

“I am excited with the group and I am looking forward to the start of the season.”

Ryan’s squad at the Carlisle Grounds contains a blend of youth and experience, with a number following him up the M11 from Wexford.

“I’m really happy with the squad and what we have,” he adds.

“I have a lot of experienced players who will be really important. The majority of the lads are progressive and starting out in their careers.

“If you take out Dave Webster, Chris Lyons and Dane Massey the average age is about 23 so it is exciting. Hopefully we can play nice football and win a few games.”

Despite a number of big-names coming in through the door at Bray Wanderers this season Ryan is relaxed about their prospects this season.

“There’s no pressure really,” he said. “We have pressure from within ourselves that we should compete at the top end of the table.

“There is no real pressure or targets to hit. We know the division is really tight and we’re probably the same of another eight teams that are looking to get a play-off spot.

“But we have to take in where Bray were last year. It won’t happen overnight but it won’t be through a lack of trying.”

Operating as a part-time outfit, the Seagulls will be competing against three full-time teams in Galway United, Waterford and Finn Harps in their quest for promotion.

But Ryan is up for the challenge.

“It is brilliant overall for the industry,” he insists. “There are a number of competitive teams and there is a lot of money being spent on teams.

“But once the league starts things will level out and hopefully we can compete.”