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Thread: Where might new clubs come from?

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    Banned. Children Banned. Grandchildren Banned. 3 Months. Charlie Darwin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David BOHie View Post
    A Fingal club actually based in Fingal and given time would have gotten huge support eventually. A move to Swords or Lusk or whatever was on the cards for them would have been massive in terms of creating a community fanbase. Swords, Malahide, Donabate, Lusk, Skerries etc must have a population of over 100k
    It's the same problem there is in the rest of Ireland where someone from Ballina won't support a team called Castlebar or based in Castlebar. There are a few massive clubs in Fingal like Malahide and Portmarnock (and Rush will be huge in the coming years) but good luck getting anyone from one of the towns to support a team based in the other. Maybe Lusk would be a good compromise, or Balbriggan.

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    Banned. Children Banned. Grandchildren Banned. 3 Months. Charlie Darwin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nigel-harps1954 View Post
    =Cabinteely are doing things the right way, to a degree, but would really benefit from getting their own grounds up to scratch rather than continuing out of a rugby ground where they'll never really get much support. A Wexford style ground would help them get up and running in that regard.
    That's the thing. If Cabinteely had the capital to build a ground, do you really think they'd spend it on a ground and not doing a Fingal and chasing success? Maybe if the club's members had their way they would but it's a big ask. Wexford's stroke of fortune was probably that they had Wallace who wasn't interested in pumping money into chasing a dream and preferred doing what he was good at and building.

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    Banned. Children Banned. Grandchildren Banned. 3 Months. Charlie Darwin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    Yup. Only Bray and Cabinteely of the clubs to have joined the league since the First Division was added haven't folded in the meantime (Derry City, Cobh, Newcastle, Monaghan, Kilkenny, St James' Gate, St Francis, Dublin City, Kildare County, Wexford Youths, Sporting Fingal, Salthill Devon and Mervue United all folded or left; Derry, Cobh and Wexford at least came back for more). That's hardly a ringing endorsement.

    And now we're running out of people to join (Tralee had to leave the Kerry League to join the A Championship, and then had to re-enter the bottom division of the Kerry League when the A Championship folded, which is idiotic), so the league has shrunk from 22 to (effectively) 19 clubs in the past decade. Coronavirus will probably take another couple.

    It's why I'd strongly favour a 16-team Premier and the provincial leagues acting as regionalised First Divisions. Give stable, interested, currently non-league clubs (if there are any!) every incentive to step up. I know Dundalk/Rovers would give out about it, and I know the regional leagues would complain too, but it's not about them ultimately.
    To be fair, you could probably keep Wexford out of that list. Yes, they folded due to Wallace's personal finances, but only after they'd been built from scratch to a point where there was a sustainable club. They haven't really followed the same trajectory as the likes of Fingal or Dublin City.

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    Seasoned Pro Nesta99's Avatar
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    Would Dundalk and Rovers really give out about it when it came to the crunch? The theory is of course that having a smaller core of 'stronger' clubs would improve the quality of games, maybe improving crowds. But tbh Id rather think that enough clubs could improve, less repeitition of fixtures (4 leagues games, good chance of a cup fixture, and maybe even reserve sides meeting in the lesser cups, throw in a replay and its ridiculous). Maybe the argument is that clubs ie those outside the current top 4 say need to strengthen first before expansion of the top division but which should/could happen first. I have no basis for why my gut feeling is that 16 teams is preferable in general and groaned when there was talk of reducing the Premier Division, wasnt even 8 clubs mooted? It isnt some hangover from starting to think we'd only ever get promoted again if the structures were changed (again) Ive always just preferred a larger division and none of this splitting leagues malarkey - that just kills off clubs that are in the bottom section but safe, which is different from midtable safety and both title and relegation teams visiting and keeping some bit of interest going. Irish sports fans are just too fickle!

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nesta99 View Post
    Would Dundalk and Rovers really give out about it when it came to the crunch?
    They would (and did)

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    Seasoned Pro Nesta99's Avatar
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    Well I know what their stance was, when it all comes up for review (is there a concrete new participation agreement finalised yet?) on a new company running a new league and the better and most supported structure if it came to the crunch I dont think the dummy would be spat!

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    It wouldn't be spat if their self-interest was met I think. And that's always been the way with the league.

    Rovers* and Dundalk were the two main clubs against the PCA document, particularly the suggested expansion of the Premier (possibly because of the suggestion of the partial redistribution of European money too). And I can understand why purely looking it from their point of view. From the bigger picture though, the First Division is a huge and unhelpful barrier to entry, and the league as a whole can't really improve with it in its current format. The league should be doing everything it can to get more clubs taking the step up to senior level. Every other country in Europe operates that way.


    * - Rovers suggested that each club should be forced to buy 250 adult tickets in advance for each away game. If they sold them all, then there was no issue. If they sold, say, 50, then that would make up for Rovers subsidising the likes of Bray. That's the level of petty self-interest clubs operate on. Let's not kid ourselves about that.

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Darwin View Post
    To be fair, you could probably keep Wexford out of that list. Yes, they folded due to Wallace's personal finances, but only after they'd been built from scratch to a point where there was a sustainable club. They haven't really followed the same trajectory as the likes of Fingal or Dublin City.
    They're very different to the latter two alright, but I don't think any First Division club can be said to be sustainable, especially when you then say they folded because of Wallace's personal finances.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    It wouldn't be spat if their self-interest was met I think. And that's always been the way with the league.

    Rovers* and Dundalk were the two main clubs against the PCA document, particularly the suggested expansion of the Premier (possibly because of the suggestion of the partial redistribution of European money too). And I can understand why purely looking it from their point of view. From the bigger picture though, the First Division is a huge and unhelpful barrier to entry, and the league as a whole can't really improve with it in its current format. The league should be doing everything it can to get more clubs taking the step up to senior level. Every other country in Europe operates that way.


    * - Rovers suggested that each club should be forced to buy 250 adult tickets in advance for each away game. If they sold them all, then there was no issue. If they sold, say, 50, then that would make up for Rovers subsidising the likes of Bray. That's the level of petty self-interest clubs operate on. Let's not kid ourselves about that.
    I agree with this, it's pretty bad that with all things considered I am still not sure whether the league would have been better off being run by itsself or under the FAI. It's why I thought that a jointly owned company running the league was the best of both worst worlds! It's too soon to be fully confident in FAI Nua, but there are signs of change which were well scuppered by covid-19. I never really understood the justification of redistribution of prizemoney. Self interest or not I dont think any club that if currently regularly qualifying for Europe, would agree to this. It's very very FAI like and Im sure they would have liked a redistribution model all to themselves.

    I agree that the 1st Divsion is a dead weight, not the clubs themselves though. I think everyone would generally agree with a structure that encourages more clubs to step up. Due to the desperate amound of failed efforts to step up, a lot more than a change in structure is needed. Regionalising would be a start though if the numbers were there.

    Its a bit of an odd proposal from Rovers though Id imagine it was making a point, or just being awkward, as the suggestion of redistribution/subsidising other clubs was also a poor idea.

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    Don't agree redistributing Euro finances is outright a bad idea. It works in other countries, such as Switzerland for example. The suggestion specifically was that some Euro money go to the FAI, with the idea of generating FAI buy-in into the league. The flip side, of course, was that they would be called on to put significant extra prize money in (2020 was when the FAI was debt free, don't forget...). So you're using the funds to -

    > Build a stable division (clubs with a starting point of, say, €100k in prize money are inherently more stable than ones whose starting point is they're paying the FAI) - stability is a huge issue in the LoI
    > Create a division that non-league clubs want to push themselves to join - I think we agree this would be good.
    > Create a safety net against the tap of Euro funds being switched off - other clubs have struggled with this in recent years; Pat's and Cork to name two
    > Create a stronger division overall, with the result that the top teams are pushed more domestically, which would hopefully help them in Europe
    > Encourage the FAI to want to drive the league forward, because more Euro success would mean more money

    Lots of benefits to be had from it.

    Edit - I should add UEFA redistribute money as well in the form of the solidarity payments all leagues, including the LoI, get. It's not a new idea.
    Last edited by pineapple stu; 10/05/2020 at 12:22 PM.

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    Seasoned Pro Nesta99's Avatar
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    It's a bit early to know whether this observation sticks but so far so good .... maybe.

    Hulsizer said he was pleased with the new FAI’s attitude towards the League of Ireland.
    “At our meeting we agreed that the participation agreement was the foundation of progress and we have devised a path to get it done.
    “I’ve rarely been in a meeting that was so unified and it was heartening. As much as I’d throw the FAI under the bus in two seconds flat if they deserve it, if they try to do something right they need to get the credit for it.

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    There is merit in redistribution I know. I should have said bad idea for the clubs that are in Europe currently. As ye know I will happily get on board with the idea if Peak6 up sticks and we need money and stability. The prospect of a widening gap financially would be a concern also but it is hard feign sincerity on this when your team happens to be in the mix. I would like to be able to say in the future, among other things, ' for the benefit of the league Dundalk needs more competition, lets share prizemoney'.

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nesta99 View Post
    There is merit in redistribution I know. I should have said bad idea for the clubs that are in Europe currently. As ye know I will happily get on board with the idea if Peak6 up sticks and we need money and stability. The prospect of a widening gap financially would be a concern also but it is hard feign sincerity on this when your team happens to be in the mix. I would like to be able to say in the future, among other things, ' for the benefit of the league Dundalk needs more competition, lets share prizemoney'.
    Ah, well they're two different things aren't they!

    Ultimately the problem in all of this is that Dundalk/Shamrock Rovers do have a say - and probably too much of a say as they're the league's golden boys at the moment - and the FAI haven't a clue what they're doing with the league.

    I can't blame Dundalk or Rovers for having short-term, self-centred views of course. It's the FAI's role - or the role of whoever's running the league - to look at the bigger picture and come up with a proper strategic plan for the league.

    It'd be interesting to see what'd happen Dundalk if/when they get dumped down to the Europa League, where prize money is much less. Or even the EL2. Will they start to fade the way Pat's/Cork/Sligo did? Certainly they don't have the self-sustaining academy setup Rovers do. I imagine Dundalk would suddenly be in favour of redistributed income then!

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    Seasoned Pro Nesta99's Avatar
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    No disagreement on any of that either. I thought this was the pivitol year for Dundalk and bedding in long term with P6. Squad balance, preperation, not carrying long term injuries from previous/pre season, lessons learned from last year etc. The 3 shots at making a group stage on offer. But covid-19 had a bit of an impact. A shrewd observation is that Pats, Sligo Shels, Derry, Bohs, eg could level the playing field financially if the season doesnt restart - bigger wage bills at Rovers and Dundalk could test the patience of owners having not laid off staff. Certainly it could test P6's level of committment. Now that Ive realised im in the wrong thread for this and going off topic - it could be in the interest of other clubs to see progression in Europe in event that there is redistribution of Euro money. In some ways its a conflict of interest, or at least the stronger 1 or 2 sides get, improving coefficients and making group stages could be important financially speaking, especially for new clubs joining a regional set-up!? Having one or 2 champions over a decade will improve the leagues stock more than 10 teams over 10 years in super competative league.....this make any sense to anyone else or have I completely lost it???

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    Capped Player nigel-harps1954's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nesta99 View Post
    Now that Ive realised im in the wrong thread for this and going off topic - it could be in the interest of other clubs to see progression in Europe in event that there is redistribution of Euro money. In some ways its a conflict of interest, or at least the stronger 1 or 2 sides get, improving coefficients and making group stages could be important financially speaking, especially for new clubs joining a regional set-up!? Having one or 2 champions over a decade will improve the leagues stock more than 10 teams over 10 years in super competative league.....this make any sense to anyone else or have I completely lost it???
    Yeah, I get what you're saying.

    And yeah, you've completely lost it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by David BOHie View Post
    A Fingal club actually based in Fingal and given time would have gotten huge support eventually. A move to Swords or Lusk or whatever was on the cards for them would have been massive in terms of creating a community fanbase. Swords, Malahide, Donabate, Lusk, Skerries etc must have a population of over 100k
    Why ? Why would this just magically have happened ?

    Most people in Ireland don't give a feck about local football. Those that do already support a team anyway. And a lot of the population of Fingal 'county' would have come from elsewhere in Dublin or the country originally, and if interested in domestic football would have pre-existing allegiances already that they wouldn't just suddenly trade-in.

    Dublin has about 1.5m people, and yet hasn't resulted in anyone getting huge support. And that's with the benefit of existing, long-term, inter-generational support bases in long-established communities to build on.

    I just think it's really naďve to believe huge crowds would somehow transpire for completely new clubs just by having them based in well-populated areas. That realistically isn't going to happen for any club anywhere until we have a well-promoted league consisting of credible teams with inter-generational support built over time competing for good prize money and making further in-roads into European competition. There are no magic beans for Irish club football.
    Last edited by EatYerGreens; 10/05/2020 at 4:44 PM.

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    Parochialism is a problem as some have mentioned. Is there any appetite for teams that could claim to represent larger areas as opposed to smaller urban centres? Kerry County instead of Tralee, Tipp United instead of Thurles, The West FC instead of Mayo etc. Or is that as pie in the sky as bringing back the third tier?
    Author of Never Felt Better (History, Film Reviews).

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    If I may make some observations from afar, might I suggest that the basic problem about attracting new teams and bolstering the 1st Division, even introducing a pyramid etc, is as follows.

    For any such system to work, it is necessary to have 16? 18? 20? teams (minimum) which are all broadly competitive?

    By which I mean not that each has an equal chance of winning the title etc, but that the worst team shouldn't be that far off the best team (i.e. usually losing, but not by 5 or 6 goal hidings every time).

    And since the Premier Division went full-time, that opened up a gap between Premier and First which is incredibly hard to bridge, unless FD clubs gamble and start spending money they don't have. And if/when they do, that makes it harder again for emerging clubs from further down to make the step-up to the FD.

    Worse still, with the advent of big European prize money, there is even a danger of the PD dividing into "haves" and "have nots" (outliers like Bohs notwithstanding).

    So that as things stand, ROI isn't capable of sustaining the number of stable, f-t clubs necessary to operate a pyramid incorporsting Promotion and Relegation, and to encourage emerging new entrants to come through etc.

    I only say this because the Irish League, for all its other faults, esp lower standard of play, is able to sustain a successful and stable pyramid, with two Senior divisions and Internediate divisions feeding through to them and Junior league clubs having the opportunity to rise to Intermediate level. As a result, we have had far fewer clubs folding, while smaller (or newish) teams like Ballinamallard, Warrenpoint and Institute have been (broadly) able to hold their own.
    But that has been achieved on the basis that all are/were effectively part-time.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northe..._league_system

    Of course, that is now under threat as several teams (Linfield, Crues, Glens, Larne, even Cliftonville?) are now f-t, or actively planning to get there. And with European money also beginning to skew the finances, we may end up with a situation closer to that in the LOI - but that's for the future, and I am reasonably confident that the existing structure and administration, which is relatively (emphasise) efficient, may mitigate the worst effects.

    Of course if you were to take, say, the top 10 LOI clubs and add the top 8 IL clubs, you might have the basis of a working top tier, with a sufficient number of teams below able (just about) to sustain P&R etc.

    Now why didn't somebody think of that before?
    Last edited by EalingGreen; 10/05/2020 at 5:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NeverFeltBetter View Post
    Parochialism is a problem as some have mentioned. Is there any appetite for teams that could claim to represent larger areas as opposed to smaller urban centres? Kerry County instead of Tralee, Tipp United instead of Thurles, The West FC instead of Mayo etc. Or is that as pie in the sky as bringing back the third tier?
    There are essentially four things that you need to have a well-supported football club anywhere :

    1) A large (relatively speaking) potential catchment area
    2) An interest within that area in the game (i.e. not a low priority sport after every other game), and ideally not other clubs or too many other clubs competing for that interest too.
    3) Time. (Support is built over years, and the inter-generational aspect is key).
    4) At least some periods of success (as that's what creates a buzz and draws in new interest, some of which then sticks with you).

    Beyond that, the club ideally needs to be part of a healthy broader eco-system for the game to maximise crowds full stop. If it isn't, then the above four factors will explain the RELATIVE differences in support between clubs.

    Notions of effectively creating a County Kerry FC etc franchise and expecting it to be a big hit are for the birds I'm afraid.

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EalingGreen View Post
    If I may make some observations from afar, might I suggest that the basic problem about attracting new teams and bolstering the 1st Division, even introducing a pyramid etc, is as follows.

    For any such system to work, it is necessary to have 16? 18? 20? teams (minimum) which are all broadly competitive?

    By which I mean not that each has an equal chance of winning the title etc, but that the worst team shouldn't be that far off the best team (i.e. usually losing, but not by 5 or 6 goal hidings every time).

    And since the Premier Division went full-time, that opened up a gap between Premier and First which is incredibly hard to bridge, unless FD clubs gamble and start spending money they don't have. And if/when they do, that makes it harder again for emerging clubs from further down to make the step-up to the FD.

    Worse still, with the advent of big European prize money, there is even a danger of the PD dividing into "haves" and "have nots" (outliers like Bohs notwithstanding).

    So that as things stand, ROI isn't capable of sustaining the number of stable, f-t clubs necessary to operate a pyramid incorporsting Promotion and Relegation, and to encourage emerging new entrants to come through etc.

    I only say this because the Irish League, for all its other faults, esp lower standard of play, is able to sustain a successful and stable pyramid, with two Senior divisions and Internediate divisions feeding through to them and Junior league clubs having the opportunity to rise to Intermediate level. As a result, we have had far fewer clubs folding, while smaller (or newish) teams like Ballinamallard, Warrenpoint and Institute have been (broadly) able to hold their own.
    But that has been achieved on the basis that all are/were effectively part-time.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northe..._league_system

    Of course, that is now under threat as several teams (Linfield, Crues, Glens, Larne, even Cliftonville?) are now f-t, or actively planning to get there. And with European money also beginning to skew the finances, we may end up with a situation closer to that in the LOI - but that's for the future, and I am reasonably confident that the existing structure and administration, which is relatively (emphasise) efficient, may mitigate the worst effects.

    Of course if you were to take, say, the top 10 LOI clubs and add the top 8 IL clubs, you might have the basis of a working top tier, with a sufficient number of teams below able (just about) to sustain P&R etc.

    Now why didn't somebody think of that before?
    While there's certainly something in that, I think a big issue here is that the LoI can't solve all its problems and has to pick and choose which to address.

    The fact of the matter at the moment is that we kind of do have the IL system here, except no-one's interested in moving up to the second tier. There's various reasons for this - the cost, the change of season, the disconnect between the leagues which means that you have to leave your regional league to join the LoI and if it doesn't work out, you have to restart at the bottom of your regional league.

    All of this is utterly insane of course. But there you go.

    I think the LoI would be best served by an IL-style pyramid (I say IL-style - but really it's roughly the same thing every country in Europe has except us), but I don't think you could put in place overnight. Even if you changed the seasons and put a direct line in place between the leagues, teams would still decline promotion to the First Division because of its legitimate reputation as a killer of clubs.

    So the reason I see a 16-team Premier as being the best way forward (not a panacea - just the best option at present) is that it actively encourages the stronger non-league sides to want to step up. Give it decent prize money, give them the buzz of promotion (I think the way Cabo came into the league hamstrung them from the very start), give them big games (on TV if possible), give them something to try help generate local interest and grow the club. If they end up relegated, well they just go back to where they came from and can try again. Let LoI B teams compete up to the second tier - another problem solved (it's effectively the LSL, and B teams compete there anyway).

    Yes, you're right that this would probably lead to an uneven division - although most LoI clubs have shown they can be competitive given a bit of financial support - but I think it would help grow some new clubs. You've got to pick which one you want, and I think the latter is the preferable option.

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