View Full Version : Independent Saints on Merger

04/07/2001, 8:02 AM
At Independent Saints’ monthly meeting on Tuesday July 3rd, a ‘Questions and Answers’ session on the merger with St. Francis was held with Andy O’ Callaghan representing Saint Patrick’s Athletic FC.

(As none of us kept exact minutes or had recording equipment what follows is not a verbatim account of what was said, but is accurate on all major points).

IS: Firstly, are we changing our name to ‘Dublin Saints’?

AOC: No!! The official name of the merged Club is Saint Patrick’s Athletic (incorporating Saint Francis) Football Club. Our semi-official nickname is changing from ‘Supersaints’ to ‘Dublin Saints’. It was felt that the tag ‘Supersaints’ had more or less outlived its marketing usefulness and a new name was needed anyway, and Saint Francis were keen to have a ‘brandname’ with ‘Dublin’ in its title. They want the new Club to go on to become the natural choice for up and coming football supporters in Dublin and feel the ‘Dublin’ title is essential.

IS: How will Saint Francis’ identity be represented in the new Club?

AOC: Apart from the subtle name change and change of official nickname, the Saint Francis crest will be on the sleeves of the new strips unveiled last night (don’t worry – our crest will still be on the chest!). Saint Francis insisted that John Hyland Park couldn’t be sold as part of the deal – they see it as an integral part of the new setup, which suits us fine as a top quality training facility is something we’ve desperately lacked for years and would have cost us many millions of pounds to develop had it not been for this deal.

IS: Who now owns John Hyland Park?

AOC: At present the trading companies representing Saint Patrick’s Athletic and Saint Francis have not yet been merged, and it is the latter who own John Hyland Park. It is intended that these two companies will be merged into one new one, with their assets combined, so the newly created Club will eventually acquire John Hyland Park.

IS: There has been speculation that the 10 Acre Baldonnell site may have a market value in the region of IR£6 Million. Are we going to sell it?

AOC: No, we intend to use Baldonnell as the site for our training, reserve fixtures and Academy for our youth section. (IS note: In any case, there is a clause in the current constitution of the aforementioned trading company that own Saint Francis that if the ground is sold all proceeds must go to charity – this was written in so that it would always be used as a footballing venue. It must also be said that valuations of 6 odd million quid would only be acquired if the land were sold to a developer for housing/industrial use – this would require rezoning of the site.)

IS: Saint Patrick’s Athletic are currently developing a site in the Leixlip/Celbridge area for training and as the site of an Academy. What’s going to happen to that now?

AOC: No decision has been made, but realistically the Club has no need for two training complexes and we have committed ourselves to using Baldonnell.

IS: Have Saint Patrick’s and Saint Francis’ schoolboys sectioned been merged as part of this deal?

AOC: There has been no decision on this yet, and there is a possibility that Saint Francis will continue to play as Saint Francis in the underage leagues as well as Saint Patrick’s, with both schoolboy sections feeding into the newly created Club.

IS: It was stated in some quarters that these changes won’t take affect until the end of the coming season and that Saint Francis will be playing for this coming season in the First Division. Is this correct?

AOC: No. Saint Francis FC has ceased to exist as a seperate entity and the merger has immediate effect. There is now a vacancy in the First Division which the FAI are trying to fill for the new season.

IS: Did Saint Francis FC have large debts coming into this merger?

AOC: No. The Club had a relatively small overdraft but no substantial debts.

IS: Will the Club’s Administration be moving out to Baldonnell or continue from Inchicore?

AOC: The new Club will function from 125 Emmet Road, as Saint Francis had no full time administrative set up anyway.

IS: The merger will give us a squad of about fifty players. Are we planning to keep the squad at this size or will it be reduced, and how will the increase in wages be dealt with?

AOC: Pat Dolan currently has 33 players and is looking for a squad of about 36 for the coming season. All the players joining from Saint Francis will be given the opportunity to show they can contribute to the squad of a Premier Division Club. Players will obviously have to be released but this applies as much to players already at Saint Patrick’s Athletic – it’s survival of the fittest! The issue of wages doesn’t arise as Saint Francis were an entirely amateur Club – they didn’t pay their players anyway.

IS: What effect will the merger have on the redevelopment of Richmond Park?

AOC: The Club is hoping that it will actually accelerate it, as we now represent a greater area and more people we feel we may be entitled to an increased grant towards redevelopment. (IS Note – Andy also dispelled any notion that we would be leaving Richmond Park as part of the merger).

Hopefully this will dispel some of the concerns expressed by our supporters and refute some of the wilder speculation in the media. Our thanks to Andy for taking the time to talk to us at such short notice.