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Thread: Irish public popularity shift away from soccer?

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    Interesting post Ciaran. The four games we have played so far are far from glamourous however, the fair weather fans just wouldn't be that interested in Cyprus, Georgia or Montenegro.

    I think the two games coming up on Saturday and in particular Wednesday next will be more telling if there has been a shift away from football. Ireland -vs- Italy won't get the same figures as the Grand Slam game against Wales, but I'd say it'll fair somewhere between Bernard Dunne's fight and the Football final.

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    Mack Daddy gustavo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ciaran View Post
    I really think we need to qualify this campaign or the game in this country is in serious trouble.
    Us qualifiying or not for S.A won't make a jot of difference to the game in this country

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    Also its imortant to point out that the Six nations was only available on RTE and BBC where as the Champions league final and internationals are available on sky sports so you would have a lot more viewers tuning into sky sports via pubs etc

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ciaran View Post
    Looking through some RTE viewership figures I was really surprised to see the Soccer matches doing so poorly, not just against Rugby but against all sports in general. Especially since we're doing so well this campaign.

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    Both the Ireland Georgia game and the Ireland England game peaked at approx 1.1m viewers which in my opinion throws football in a great light. From a rugby perspective you dont get much bigger a game than England at home. Although the Georgia game was a big game for a genuine Irish supporter would not have attracted the same level of attention for the "casual" viewer.


    Rugby is king at the moment because it is successful, like all sports in Ireland success will breed interest etc etc. however, in my opinion and i think a few journalists have written articles to this extent in the last few days, the level of interest/hysteria on a nationwide basis that the successes of the Irish football team generates is much greater than that the Irish rugby team can. Although rugby is reaching areas of society it never did in the past, it is not as far reaching or widespread as football. For example compare Ireland in the WC (Football) versus Ireland in the WC (rugby), no comparison, the country comes to a standstill during the football WC games.

    I guarantee that the ratings for the Ireland Bulgaria and Italy games will closely match if not exceed the rugby.

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    I thought I read on foot.ie recently that Ireland vs Georgia attracted as many watchers on TV as Ireland vs England in the rugby (or was it France?). {edit - thanks Elroy!}

    Interesting post by the way, but I'd qualify the events you listed as follows:

    Grand Slam & title decider. The defining moment of a golden generation of rugby players.
    The 2 biggest games in the GAA calendar.
    A world title fight.
    An early round football qualifier against a team we played recently anyway (so no novelty value) in one of the worst games ever seen in Dublin

    I know it's a subjective comment but I've no doubt that soccer can regain its top dog status but only once we start threatening to qualify again. I'd have no doubt that Ireland vs Italy or Montenegro would attract massive numbers at the end of this campaign if there was something still to play for. If we qualify for a WC again it'd be massive. I'm not sure it'd have direct spillover into the LOI but it'd certainly improve football's standing in the psyche of the country no end.

    I'd like to know what the Ireland vs Canada viewing number was.

    Also, RTE's Premiership has competition from BBC and SKY, each of whom have a series of highlights packages. There's also SKY+ and all that - is that captured?

    Separately, my rugger mates often cite increased player numbers at underage level and I've no doubt this is true. But is this at the expense of football? My own family experience is that my brother's kids play rugby, football and GAA (not to mention tennis & other games). I think there's a generally good participation culture in all games and they're not mutually exclusive.
    Last edited by Stuttgart88; 24/03/2009 at 1:10 PM.

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    Could be worrying for the game. But we must remember that more people play soccer than any other sport in this country. Also, there are many more channels for viewers to tune into for the same match.
    But , good point nonetheless and it should keep us all on our toes. So, anybody not involved at local level should rethink their stance and promote the garrison game!!!
    If we qualify, momentum will gather and recent rugby success will pale in comparison.
    Last edited by smasher; 24/03/2009 at 12:58 PM.

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    Seasoned Pro Razors left peg's Avatar
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    The success in the rugby has been great and I went as mental as most people celebrating it at the weekend. But as good as the atmostphere was around all the pubs for it , its still doesnt even get close to how mental the country goes when we are in a world cup.The reaction to O Gara drop goal at the weekend as good as it was still doesnt even get close to the absolute pandimonium after Houghtons goals against England or Italy, or even Robbies goal against Germany.
    There are so many band wagon jumpers in the country that behave like they are all die hards when it comes to the big occasion in soccer.

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    I think an important point is that our footballers used to always have a connection with the supporters but during the boom years this connection broke. The players earned money beyond their dreams and their attitude began to stink. I think the penny has dropped to a certain extent and bar the likes of Stephen Manchester I think the mutual bond is returning. Hard work & humility are important, but ultimately it's results.

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    Funnily enough, whilst the battering BO'D took against England was heroic and was compelling viewing, I'd say it turned many mothers off the prospect of seeing their kids getting involved in the same game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ciaran View Post
    I think it would, between Stan, Stephen Ireland and 5-2 in Cyprus theres been a lot of negativity associated with our team in recent years among the general public. Qualifying for the World Cup would certainly reverse that.
    You're presuming that faith in the national team equates to the state of football in this country though

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ciaran View Post
    I think it would, between Stan, Stephen Ireland and 5-2 in Cyprus theres been a lot of negativity associated with our team in recent years among the general public. Qualifying for the World Cup would certainly reverse that.
    thats not what gustavo is getting at
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    Let's not go OTT on this.

    If you generate enough media print/ hype / word of mouth etc etc, you'll get a high demand for tickets and high television viewing numbers. The vast majority of Irish sporting public can easily be manipulated and directed.

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    btw ciaran good post, common sense ringing through, no often we see that

    But I have to say I have been feeling this coming for a while to be honest. Rugby is growing and soccer is waining. Whatever ppl say about biggest registered membership and stuff, playing fair enough, thats probably the case but actual interest outside of that is deteriorating, remember its a lot easier set up a soccer club than say a GAA club or rugby, even just in terms of numbers.
    I'm a bloke,I'm an ocker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuttgart88 View Post
    I thought I read on foot.ie recently that Ireland vs Georgia attracted as many watchers on TV as Ireland vs England in the rugby (or was it France?). {edit - thanks Elroy!}

    Interesting post by the way, but I'd qualify the events you listed as follows:

    Grand Slam & title decider. The defining moment of a golden generation of rugby players.
    The 2 biggest games in the GAA calendar.
    A world title fight.
    An early round football qualifier against a team we played recently anyway (so no novelty value) in one of the worst games ever seen in Dublin

    I know it's a subjective comment but I've no doubt that soccer can regain its top dog status but only once we start threatening to qualify again. I'd have no doubt that Ireland vs Italy or Montenegro would attract massive numbers at the end of this campaign if there was something still to play for. If we qualify for a WC again it'd be massive. I'm not sure it'd have direct spillover into the LOI but it'd certainly improve football's standing in the psyche of the country no end.

    I'd like to know what the Ireland vs Canada viewing number was.

    Also, RTE's Premiership has competition from BBC and SKY, each of whom have a series of highlights packages. There's also SKY+ and all that - is that captured?

    Separately, my rugger mates often cite increased player numbers at underage level and I've no doubt this is true. But is this at the expense of football? My own family experience is that my brother's kids play rugby, football and GAA (not to mention tennis & other games). I think there's a generally good participation culture in all games and they're not mutually exclusive.

    Thats true stutts, but when a certain age is reached(around 12 - 14) THEY focus on one or the other, the hope by that stage from a soccer point of view is that if they are going to be good enough then they have focused solely on soccer.....
    I'm a bloke,I'm an ocker
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul_oshea View Post
    But I have to say I have been feeling this coming for a while to be honest. Rugby is growing and soccer is waining.
    Crikey, Sherlock Holmes is in our midst

    Has it nothing to do with relative success?

    I'd agree that rugby probably has more capacity to grow, a lower base and all that.

    What about the Georgia game and England game attracting same viewing numbers?

    Do you think that there won't be bigger hysteria if we qualify for the WC?

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    Not buying the theory behind this thread at all to be honest.

    Frankly it's the kind of oversensetivity that the GAA has indulged in since back in the fog "...If others succeed, we automatically fail".

    Im delighted for the rugby lads. I truly am and that's despite the fact that not alone would I have swapped any number of Grand Slams for qualification for the WC -I'd have swapped it for 4 points from our next two games.
    " I wish to God that someone would be able to block out the voices in my head for five minutes, the voices that scream, over and over again: "Why do they come to me to die?"

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    The thing is you cannot trust the Irish mentality when it comes to this stuff. This is a nation of instinctual bandwagon jumpers. If Ireland won a gold medal in figure skating we would be a "a figure skating mad nation" with a "popularity shift towards the Winter Olympics over Rugby." There is no loyalty in this land except to the man on da telly.

    The problem with the Ireland soccer team is many fold. They do not look right or at home in Croker, the Britishness of the Ireland soccer set-up has only been reinforced with Traps arrival as it moved the team culturally away from being 'mainly a British thing with some Irishness' to being 'a British thing with some Italianness and no Irishness'. The 40 year chicken has come home to roost.

    The whole Stephen Ireland saga was a disaster. In any other country he would of been told to "get lost and be banned from playing for Ireland ever again" - but because we forgave Roy Keane, we have this notion now that if a player considers playing for his British club over the National Team then this is understandable.

    It makes them more "Irish" in some weird way. So we must molly coddle and indulge these millionaires rather than looking for players who will actually want to play for Ireland. I think the whole post-Saipan "Keano" brigade have seriously and fatally damaged the Irish team and it is taking it time to destory us, but it is happening. A mandate was set there which said "playing for Ireland is not an houour, British soccer coropations come first" - that was the begining of the cancer.

    Since then, the naitonal team has just become less relevant to Irish society. Playing soccer for Ireland in a WC qualifier is something you might do if you can't get in the Gilliangham first team, rather than a great honour. Likewise the supporters have subconciously gone the same route. Compare that mentality to the Irish rugby squad.

    If the national team qualifies for the WC cup then the current Rugby mad Irish public will be the soccer mad Irish public again.

    We are a nation of teenboppers when it comes to sporting loyalties.
    Last edited by Boh_So_Good; 24/03/2009 at 1:30 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuttgart88 View Post
    Crikey, Sherlock Holmes is in our midst

    Has it nothing to do with relative success?

    I'd agree that rugby probably has more capacity to grow, a lower base and all that.

    What about the Georgia game and England game attracting same viewing numbers?

    Do you think that there won't be bigger hysteria if we qualify for the WC?
    I don't know, I always judge thinks like this from seeing other peoples reactions, and talking to them, granted most of my friends from home-home would have been soccer through and through, the interest in the local team has always been small(even though they have reached a connaught semi-final this year and junior league last 16/quarters 2 years ago) the club hasn't got any new non-members on board or people attending games. People are talking a lot more about rugby at home and a lot more have joined the "local club" which is about 20 miles or so away from the town. GAA has steadily stayed the same. Soccer at home is still basically the same few die-hards no matter how well the team has done(and given the support they receive they are probably one of the best teams in the country relative to this). Over here and in Dublin would be more GAA lads or rugger heads, but also would have had an interest in soccer(a lot of them play saturday league over here), but they just dont care as much for soccer as they used to. Even the plastics i speak to say years ago in the pubs there was a lot more interest in ireland soccer than there is now, and that shift has gone towards rugby over the last few years. Its obviouslly down to a few factors but one major one being success. Success in soccer seems to breed contempt to one extent, not the same in rugby.

    If you think of what Pope said and how it has grown in the 15 years he has been in this country, and yet we still only have 120 or so professional players, then you just have to wonder how big it can become, and soccer will definitely flounder if this is the case. Even from a practical viewpoint, big awkward (rugby or even gaa)lads running round playing soccer are never going to reach the pinnacle are they?!

    I honestly think that the next world cup will not be anywhere near as big as 90s, or even close to WC2002. I honestly dont think the interest is there as much as it used to be, whatever about the success of rugby. IF the world cup were in Europe and we qualified I reckon the reaction would be far greater, thats the real pity I feel.
    Last edited by paul_oshea; 24/03/2009 at 1:44 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lionel Ritchie View Post
    I'd have swapped it for 4 points from our next two games.
    That's exactly what I said on Saturday night, fully decked out in my old Irish rugby shirt and downing pints and shots like my life depended on it. I love the rugby - probably more than a very large % of those that claim to be rugby fans first and foremost -but for me nothing beats the football.

    A few years ago, on holidays, I was downbeat but far from gutted when France pipped us to the Championship on points difference. My mood then jumped when I got texts saying we were beating Pakistan at the cricket.

    I was inconsolable, totally sick after the 2 Israel games, particularly the first one. I just wanted to scream & then hibernate until the next game. Instead I had to go to dinner with the missus

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    Quote Originally Posted by Razors left peg View Post
    The success in the rugby has been great and I went as mental as most people celebrating it at the weekend. But as good as the atmostphere was around all the pubs for it , its still doesnt even get close to how mental the country goes when we are in a world cup.The reaction to O Gara drop goal at the weekend as good as it was still doesnt even get close to the absolute pandimonium after Houghtons goals against England or Italy, or even Robbies goal against Germany.
    There are so many band wagon jumpers in the country that behave like they are all die hards when it comes to the big occasion in soccer.
    BINGO Razor - u took the words rite out of my mouth

    agree completely

    however i believe the band wagon jumpers pretending to be die hards not only applies to soccer

    was delighted for the rugby team on sat and watched a great game but i aint a hardcore rugby fan nor ever was i and i aint gonna pretend to be now, unlike alot of the so called "rugby supporters" around the country on saturday
    Last edited by back of the net; 24/03/2009 at 1:45 PM.

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