Fortress Lansdowne - 03 June 2003
"We want to turn Lansdowne Road into a sea of green with a fever-pitch atmosphere," Mr. Fran Rooney, CEO of the FAI, said today.
Mr. Rooney was speaking at a Press Conference where he outlined details of the FAI's plans to help the fans bring more atmosphere, colour and noise to Ireland's home venue.
"We have met with fans from 16 eircom League clubs since my appointment and we are delighted with their reaction," Mr. Rooney said. "We want to plug into the tremendous enthusiasm of these fans to raise the temperature for the international matches," he said.
"Like most eircom League fans, I've experienced the colour and noise which now exists at domestic matches every week and the challenge now is to actively help these supporters to create a fever-pitch atmosphere at Lansdowne Road," he added.
"We've made the fans' involvement one of our top priorities and I'm confident that we can, over time, elevate the already strong Lansdowne Road match day experience to a new level where visiting teams will genuinely notice the difference. Brian Kerr and the players want more nose and more colour and we will start to create this on Saturday," Mr. Rooney said.
"We've spoken with Brian and his staff, the players, the supporters and the authorities in bringing together our various ideas and everyone recognises that the fans can be the extra player which can make the difference on the pitch," he added.
Mr. Rooney outlined a number of short and long term initiatives which the FAI plans for future home international matches.
For the upcoming two Euro Championship games the FAI will :
· Make available over 1,200 North Terrace tickets for eircom League supporters
· Provide 22 large Ireland tricolours, one for each of the eircom League supporters' clubs
· Distribute 50 extra Ireland flags to eircom League supporters
· Provide 36,000 green card (one on each seat) to help generate more colour
· Unfurl Ireland's largest tricolour, a 3-piece flag presented to the FAI by the City of Izumo at last year's World Cup, measuring 114' X 60'
. Provide a new programme of music prior to and at half time in the game, co-ordinated with the fans
'Special Scarf Days'
The FAI is asking fans to make an extra effort at these two games including :
· Make the next two games special 'scarf days'
· Come to the ground early to get the chanting and drumming started
· Wear everything possible green to help turn Lansdowne Road into a unique sea of green
· Join in the singing, chanting and drumming
Special arrangements are also being made to allow a number of eircom League super-size banners into the stadium
Mr. Rooney emphasised that the task of building on the already very strong home support was one which would pay dividends in the long term. He said the initiatives for the next two matches were very important in the quest for Euro 2004 qualification but recognised that the process of turning Lansdowne Road into a real fortress would take time.
He said for the future the FAI will
· Generate greater contact between eircom League fans and the FAI
· Establish a 'fans forum' to actively involve the fans in the Association's plans for supporters and to air their views on an ongoing basis
· Seek to develop the fans' club to maximise all the areas of support for all our international teams
· Commit to examining ticket allocation to increase availability for fans who support football at home
· Allocate certain locations in the ground for eircom League fans
· Work with the fans to create a fans' band
· Work with interested sponsors to support fans' participation on match days
· Aim to create a better experience for everyone involved on match days.