For those Irish football fans who were living under a rock this past week, distress signals appear to have been sent by Irish Clubs.
Last week Finn Harps FC released a statement, encouraging supporters and the local community to participate and engage in series of fundraising events coming up while saying that the postponement of their fixture with the Candystripes has “presented the club with a huge challenge.” A suggestion that perhaps all is not well in Ballybofey?
However, the real elephant in the room this week is the dire situation currently developing at the Carlisle grounds. Last Friday evening, Bray Wanderers released a statement detailing the financial situation of the club. Bray Wanderers Chairman, Denis O’Connor said, “It is just not viable to continue to run a club at a level expected by fans without the proper support.
A huge effort has been put into the club by many volunteers in the past few years. Harry has done a great job with the senior squad and substantial funds have been put in to support this effort for which we are grateful.
But what is the point if we cannot get the minimum financial and supporter base which a great club like this deserves?”
Since this statement has been released, the Bray Wanderers senior squad have been told that the club only have the finances to secure one more weeks wage and that the players are free to talk to other club, according to the PFAI. Talk online is suggesting that, underage players will be promoted to the first team in order for the club to finish the season. I have no doubt that the events that continue to develop within Irish football will give many supporters (including myself), grave cause for concern.
The situation at Bray is quite simply a reminder of darker times for City fans, and as Kenny Shiels quite rightly said in the Derry Journal this week, it would be all too easy to follow the path of Bray. Some of us Derry fans forget that at times I feel. We as supporters may feel frustrated at times that we aren’t bringing in as many quality players as the likes of Dundalk or Cork are, but the facts are in plain view, the sustainable running of the football club must come first. There cannot be a return to those darker times.
While it is too early to comment on the situation at Bray, one thing I feel that has been made exceedingly clear in the midst of all of this, is the importance of the support of the fans and the local community, wherever that may be. This season, Buncrana has taken the City Faithful in with open arms, and despite being 20 minutes down the road, Maginn Park has seen bumper crowds for the majority of the season. Long may it continue!
Now more than ever, the Irish game needs the support of the local community.
Support your local team!