Bray may have lost heavily at Dalymount Park on Friday night but it was great just to see them on the pitch, the players having been paid all monies owed and the threat of strike action withdrawn. Hopefully there will be no further reoccurrence of the events of the last few weeks and the club can close out their fixtures for the remainder of the season and go forward on a more sustainable footing for 2019 in the First Division.
But what a week! Residents of Bray are used to roller-coasters and merry-go-rounds inhabiting the greens adjacent to their seafront promenade at this time of year, but they don’t expect their football club to get into a similar groove. Yet that’s exactly what supporting Bray has been like in recent years – take your pick from merry-go-round or roller-coaster, with the spectre of a ride on the ghost train hovering in the background.
Things looked like they had gone from bad to worse, or worse to disastrous, when Martin Russell walked away in mid-week. The light at the end of the tunnel seemed like it was even further away, only to suddenly hit us in the face the following day like the heatwave sun when the monies owed were paid in full.
It’s not my place to speculate on the timing of these events, because I don’t have the facts other than what I’ve presented above. I’m just glad that the monies were paid. Fair play to the club for getting it sorted; the thing that struck me most about Russell’s exit statement was his goodwill towards Gerry Mulvey; this is something I’d echo – it can’t have been easy for either Denis O’Connor or Gerry Mulvey inheriting the mess they did, and while I don’t agree with the plans for the Carlisle Grounds, they have done their best to keep the club going.
I’m glad too that Graham Kelly is back in charge – the bulk of our points this season were garnered from the spell when Graham was in charge between Dave Mackey leaving and Martin Russell coming in. Graham is Bray through and through like a stick of seafront rock, green and white blood in his veins. I’m sure he won’t have thrown in the towel yet as regards survival – ten games left means 30 points and we are only 6 behind Limerick!
Cork at home next week will be Graham’s first game in charge under proper conditions – he had to send the team out in Dalymount without having had any contact time with them, which was obviously far from ideal. He’ll have them for training in the run up to Cork, so I’d expect a much closer contest than Friday’s Dalymount drubbing.
In fairness to Bohemians, the goals that rained in on Bray’s net on Friday got me thinking. I ran some numbers, as the statisticians say. After Friday night the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division had seen 343 goals in 127 games, a goals-per-game [GPG] ratio of 2.7 – better than the 2.6 the Russia World Cup had offered up [169 goals in 64 games]. The First Division is faring even better – after Friday night there had been 296 goals in 104 games for a GPG ratio of 2.8 [both of these ratios also compare well with the supposed ‘best league in the world’ – with 1018 goals in 380 games the 2017-18 English Premier League also served up a GPG ratio of 2.7].
So what will the next week bring? I’ve booked my ticket for the next spin on the merry-go-round!