Page 3 of 10 FirstFirst 12345 ... LastLast
Results 41 to 60 of 185

Thread: B Teams

  1. #41
    First Team
    Joined
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    1,257
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    398
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    418
    Thanked in
    247 Posts
    We have a fundamental problem in Irish football. If we go down the pyramid route, we end up with teams that are good on the pitch at an intermediate level but will struggle at a senior level - and invariably have no fans. Worst still they'll end up all being from the same place - like the one time when we actually did have a pyramid and we ended up with 3 clubs in Galway city. Ridiculous. So it's all very well to say that the pyramid route works everywhere else - we're not everywhere else. We have a small population, and football is only one of 4 domestic sports that attract good crowds (with football actually being the 4th best-supported of those). Nowhere else in Europe has that situation.

    Conversely - the approach we've tried for years of waiting until someone goes bust, and then giving their space to whoever just happens to want it at the time hasn't exactly worked for us either. The only expansions that have worked IMO have been 1984 and 1985 - which were part of a planned process. 1984 saw Cork and Longford join - both of whom are still in the league. 1985 saw Bray, Derry, Cobh, Monaghan, EMFA and Newcastle join - half of whom are still in the league 35yrs later, and 2 further lasted over 20yrs and may some day return. There has never been a period of such major numerical expansion in the LOI since it was formed, and it has also resulted in 5 long-lasting teams being introduced to the league. So the bottom line for me is that planning new entrants is the key.

    So this is what I would do if I was the FAI :

    1) Conduct an analysis of locations around the country which don't currently have an LOI team, but on-paper would have a chance of making one last. Looking at population, strength of the game locally vs other sports, distance form existing LOI teams etc. (e.g. Navan, Tralee, Mullingar, Castlebar, Tullamore ?)
    2) Look at what existing junior or intermediate clubs in that area could have the potential to take the step up over time. i.e. are well-run, ambitious, have decent facilities - or at least have some of those qualities.
    3) Approach those clubs directly, say that the FAI wants the League to expand to X teams by 2025 and Y teams by 2030, and ask would they be interested in being one of a number of 'contender/candidate clubs' for that. That's not a commitment from either those clubs or the FAI that they WILL join the LOI btw. Just a commitment that they'll go on a journey together to improve themselves so they're in a position where they could potentially join in the future
    4) For those who are interested - develop a clear strategy for what they are currently good at and less good, and what they need to do to get themselves ready for the senior game in either 5 or 10 years time. FAI funding would help with the facilities aspect, but the clubs would also be expected to raise their own money to show they can become sustainable. They should also be helped on youth academies, revenue-generation, etc etc
    5) Review the progress of these clubs on a regular basis, and not be afraid to say to any of them where they're under-performing, or if it just isn't going to happen for them realistically.
    6) Let these clubs enter the League Cup automatically after a few years, to start blooding them against senior opposition. And also hold an annual tournament amongst all the candidate clubs to encourage them all to step up vs each other.
    7) By the start of the 2024 season everyone involved should be clear on if and who is ready to join the league the following season, And again in 2028/2029 for the clubs that join in 2030.
    8) The clubs that go through this process - all or part of the way - will be left in a better position as a result, even if they don't join the LOI. Football will have been improved even if it ends up adding no-one to the league.

    So that's my proposal to square the current circle of saying we should have a pyramid, when it clearly won't work, but the current situation isn't working either. Let's create a strong and credible conveyer belt of candidate clubs in a strategic plan with long-term timescales. Let's encourage new clubs in fertile ground where they have at least a reasonable chance of growing sustainable support bases and succeeding. No more Mervues, NewcastleWests or St Francis's please.
    Last edited by EatYerGreens; 23/11/2020 at 5:49 PM.

  2. Thanks From:


  3. #42
    Youth Team
    Joined
    May 2018
    Posts
    181
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    6
    Thanked in
    6 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    We have a fundamental problem in Irish football. If we go down the pyramid route, we end up with teams that are good on the pitch at an intermediate level but will struggle at a senior level - and invariably have no fans. Worst still they'll end up all being from the same place - like the one time when we actually did have a pyramid and we ended up with 3 clubs in Galway city. Ridiculous. So it's all very well to say that the pyramid route works everywhere else - we're not everywhere else. We have a small population, and football is only one of 4 domestic sports that attract good crowds (with football actually being the 4th best-supported of those). Nowhere else in Europe has that situation.

    Conversely - the approach we've tried for years of waiting until someone goes bust, and then giving their space to whoever just happens to want it at the time hasn't exactly worked for us either. The only expansions that have worked IMO have been 1984 and 1985 - which were part of a planned process. 1984 saw Cork and Longford join - both of whom are still in the league. 1985 saw Bray, Derry, Cobh, Monaghan, EMFA and Newcastle join - half of whom are still in the league 35yrs later, and 2 further lasted over 20yrs and may some day return. There has never been a period of such major numerical expansion in the LOI since it was formed, and it has also resulted in 5 long-lasting teams being introduced to the league. So the bottom line for me is that planning new entrants is the key.

    So this is what I would do if I was the FAI :

    1) Conduct an analysis of locations around the country which don't currently have an LOI team, but on-paper would have a chance of making one last. Looking at population, strength of the game locally vs other sports, distance form existing LOI teams etc. (e.g. Navan, Tralee, Mullingar, Castlebar, Tullamore ?)
    2) Look at what existing junior or intermediate clubs in that area could have the potential to take the step up over time. i.e. are well-run, ambitious, have decent facilities - or at least have some of those qualities.
    3) Approach those clubs directly, say that the FAI wants the League to expand to X teams by 2025 and Y teams by 2030, and ask would they be interested in being one of a number of 'contender/candidate clubs' for that. That's not a commitment from either those clubs or the FAI that they WILL join the LOI btw. Just a commitment that they'll go on a journey together to improve themselves so they're in a position where they could potentially join in the future
    4) For those who are interested - develop a clear strategy for what they are currently good at and less good, and what they need to do to get themselves ready for the senior game in either 5 or 10 years time. FAI funding would help with the facilities aspect, but the clubs would also be expected to raise their own money to show they can become sustainable. They should also be helped on youth academies, revenue-generation, etc etc
    5) Review the progress of these clubs on a regular basis, and not be afraid to say to any of them where they're under-performing, or if it just isn't going to happen for them realistically.
    6) Let these clubs enter the League Cup automatically after a few years, to start blooding them against senior opposition. And also hold an annual tournament amongst all the candidate clubs to encourage them all to step up vs each other.
    7) By the start of the 2024 season everyone involved should be clear on if and who is ready to join the league the following season, And again in 2028/2029 for the clubs that join in 2030.
    8) The clubs that go through this process - all or part of the way - will be left in a better position as a result, even if they don't join the LOI. Football will have been improved even if it ends up adding no-one to the league.

    So that's my proposal to square the current circle of saying we should have a pyramid, when it clearly won't work, but the current situation isn't working either. Let's create a strong and credible conveyer belt of candidate clubs in a strategic plan with long-term timescales. Let's encourage new clubs in fertile ground where they have at least a reasonable chance of growing sustainable support bases and succeeding. No more Mervues, NewcastleWests or St Francis's please.
    Great points. Population is too small for a pyramid system.

    Even approach a couple for teams in an area or a league set up like Kerry league and ask them to work together in getting a team.

  4. #43
    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
    Joined
    Aug 2002
    Location
    In the long grass
    Posts
    32,098
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    1,642
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    3,322
    Thanked in
    2,030 Posts
    If the population is too small for a pyramid system, why does every other country in Europe operate one?

    Iceland, Luxembourg, Malta, Georgia, Wales, NI - all smaller than Ireland and all with fully-integrated pyramid systems allowing any ambitious club a clear path from bottom to top

  5. #44
    Youth Team
    Joined
    May 2018
    Posts
    181
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    6
    Thanked in
    6 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    That'd be an awful idea in fairness. Irish people have no personal affinity with the educational institutions that just happen to be in their area, and even those who currently or previously attended them have limited emotional ties to them as well. Most spend every weekend getting away from their university town and back to their village in the arse end of nowhere to see the same faces they've seen all their lives and so their mammy can wash their socks for them. So these teams would be pretty much guaranteed to have no support.

    Football is supposed to be all about the fans. And Irish football already has enough teams who don't really have any fans.

    Is it though? All the 3rd level have players possible have them on scholarships already, gives them a chance at been professional footballer and get an education.

    Most 3rd level have top facilities.

    Have a link with the college and local under age teams you’d never no it could take off, the funding from the department of education would certainly be more viable for a team in say Carlow it to last in the league. No other team in the area at LOI level why wouldn’t it work?

  6. #45
    Youth Team GUFCghost's Avatar
    Joined
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    203
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    109
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    18
    Thanked in
    12 Posts
    Most of those countries have a much stronger tradition of domestic football and more urban populations.
    We're in a unique position. Football is very popular but the domestic league is poorly attended, mostly because of neglect. We don't even have a strong tradition of any kind of club sport. Irish fans are use to watching provincial/county sides.

    Our goal should be a full time premier division and a part time first division. Allowing housing estates in Galway with no stadia to join the first division won't help with this.
    This can be best achieved by carefully planning out where clubs can be successful. We need proper regional intermediate leagues where potential senior clubs can play before making the jump to senior football. EatYerGreens made a lot of really great points in house.
    oh boy I'm not good at football forums

  7. Thanks From:


  8. #46
    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
    Joined
    Aug 2002
    Location
    In the long grass
    Posts
    32,098
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    1,642
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    3,322
    Thanked in
    2,030 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by GUFCghost View Post
    We're in a unique position. Football is very popular but the domestic league is poorly attended,
    That's not remotely unique. Lots of countries have poorly-attended domestic leagues, particularly as you go further east in Europe. Lots of countries have little tradition of club support, particularly in the ex-Soviet states where the one big club - Dynamo Kyiv and Ararat Yerevan probably the most obvious two - were de facto national sides and very few other clubs were well-supported at all.

    We need to ditch this idea that we're unique. We're not.

    Put a proper structure in place - like in every other country - which allows and (importantly) encourages existing clubs to grow. New clubs will emerge naturally then.

    A third tier of college clubs or B teams will do nothing but create another level in a failed league structure. Parachuting new clubs into the graveyard has failed almost every time yet people are still suggesting it. Cabo could have had potential as a senior club except (a) their facilities were ****e and discouraged fans from going and (b) they weren't competitive because they were bumped up from nowhere, and interest fell away. Instead give them a title the previous season and a competitive team and they'd have fared better. Maybe not great, but better

  9. #47
    First Team
    Joined
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    1,257
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    398
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    418
    Thanked in
    247 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    If the population is too small for a pyramid system, why does every other country in Europe operate one?

    Iceland, Luxembourg, Malta, Georgia, Wales, NI - all smaller than Ireland and all with fully-integrated pyramid systems allowing any ambitious club a clear path from bottom to top
    How many of those countries have football as their fourth most popular spectator sport domestically though ?

    That's the killer when combined with a small population. It effectively reduces significantly the population that our clubs can appeal to. Essentially making us a much smaller country in reality than the census says we are.

    We tried a pyramid before, and it gave us 3 teams in Galway city. We've also tried de-facto pyramids before - which was the multiple times we've let in the best teams from the Leinster Senior League (e.g. St James's Gate, St Francis) whenever we needed to fill a gap. All these approaches failed. Blindly hoping that promoting whichever club happens to be one of the best in the intermediate game (and willing to join) will stop the century-long history of mayfly clubs is extremely naïve IMO. Because it hasn't worked before.

    We need to try something different. Something logical and strategic which at least increases the chances that any new entrants will have a fighting chance of long-term sustainability.

    As an aside - another issue with the countries you listed is that the gap in resources and support between new entries from their pyramid and the teams at the top of those leagues are not as big as in our league. We could well have St Francis from the LSL joining just one tier below a team that is in the Europa League. Wales has a big gap in standard between its top team (TNS) and the promoted teams into the Cymru Premier, but there is no depth to that league (the other teams are pretty much sh!te, even Connah's Quay). And the gap in support between clubs in Wales is so minimal as to be of almost no financial significance. It's not like TNS are getting thousands more at games than newly promoted Flint Town United. Contrast with Shamrock Rovers vs St Francis or Cabinteely.
    Last edited by EatYerGreens; 24/11/2020 at 12:11 AM.

  10. #48
    First Team
    Joined
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    1,257
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    398
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    418
    Thanked in
    247 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. football View Post
    Is it though? All the 3rd level have players possible have them on scholarships already, gives them a chance at been professional footballer and get an education.

    Most 3rd level have top facilities.

    Have a link with the college and local under age teams you’d never no it could take off, the funding from the department of education would certainly be more viable for a team in say Carlow it to last in the league. No other team in the area at LOI level why wouldn’t it work?
    It all comes down to whether you want a league of teams with ok facilities and just ok players.

    Or a league with fans, good facilities and clubs that can genuinely improve on the pitch (ideally over time to a professional level) and make progress in Europe over time.

    Because you're less likely to get the latter with more college-based teams in the league. They won't draw a crowd, and won't invest in their stadia beyond a basic level (because that's all they need with few fans).

    In my view we have enough clubs in the league already who are essentially just making up the numbers and doing little or nothing to make the domestic game more attractive in their area.
    Last edited by EatYerGreens; 24/11/2020 at 12:32 AM.

  11. #49
    First Team EalingGreen's Avatar
    Joined
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    2,333
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    22
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    105
    Thanked in
    74 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    So it's all very well to say that the pyramid route works everywhere else - we're not everywhere else. We have a small population, and football is only one of 4 domestic sports that attract good crowds (with football actually being the 4th best-supported of those). Nowhere else in Europe has that situation.
    I can't comment on Iceland, Luxembourg, Malta, Georgia, Wales (as per P.Stu), but you already have a directly comparable example, right on your doorstep. And while Hurling is no big deal in NI, our population is less than half of yours, not so wealthy, with the same one big city dominating (not Bangor, btw) and the same "pull" from across the Irish Sea.
    Yet we have now built a very healthy pyramid, with the various divisions reasonably competitive within themselves and the member clubs pretty stable.

    Or look a little further to Scotland, which has only a slightly bigger population, and if it doesn't have Gaelic games, or much rugby, does have two giant clubs which dominate the domestic scene to a huge extent, all in a country which is much more spread out geographically.
    Yet they manage to operate a pyramid with a 4 x division senior league, above the Highland and Lowland Leagues (fifth tier), plus another 8 Divisions down to tiers six and seven.

    Both countries have worked very hard in recent years to develop and refine their respective systems, with reasonable success in the main, so it can be done.

    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    Conversely - the approach we've tried for years of waiting until someone goes bust, and then giving their space to whoever just happens to want it at the time hasn't exactly worked for us either. The only expansions that have worked IMO have been 1984 and 1985 - which were part of a planned process. 1984 saw Cork and Longford join - both of whom are still in the league. 1985 saw Bray, Derry, Cobh, Monaghan, EMFA and Newcastle join - half of whom are still in the league 35yrs later, and 2 further lasted over 20yrs and may some day return. There has never been a period of such major numerical expansion in the LOI since it was formed, and it has also resulted in 5 long-lasting teams being introduced to the league. So the bottom line for me is that planning new entrants is the key.
    The big successes were Cork - which should never not have had a top level club (imo) - and Derry, which only came about by happenstance. And while Bray and Longford have done ok (tbf), they've hardly pulled up any trees, while the others all failed (as did later pop-up clubs like Dublin City etc). And as you say, that was over a third of a century ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    So this is what I would do if I was the FAI :

    2) Look at what existing junior or intermediate clubs in that area could have the potential to take the step up over time. i.e. are well-run, ambitious, have decent facilities - or at least have some of those qualities.
    3) Approach those clubs directly, say that the FAI wants the League to expand to X teams by 2025 and Y teams by 2030, and ask would they be interested in being one of a number of 'contender/candidate clubs' for that. That's not a commitment from either those clubs or the FAI that they WILL join the LOI btw. Just a commitment that they'll go on a journey together to improve themselves so they're in a position where they could potentially join in the future
    4) For those who are interested - develop a clear strategy for what they are currently good at and less good, and what they need to do to get themselves ready for the senior game in either 5 or 10 years time. FAI funding would help with the facilities aspect, but the clubs would also be expected to raise their own money to show they can become sustainable. They should also be helped on youth academies, revenue-generation, etc etc
    I'm genuinely not out to have a pop, but if there are clubs out there with potential etfc, why do they need to be approached by the FAI? Why aren't they banging on the door at Abbotstown to find out what they must do to get into the First Division etc? It's tempting to think that if they have to be asked, then maybe they don't posess the necessary wherewithal in the first place.

    (Btw, I only comment because I'm a bit of a football nerd generally, but also because indirectly at least, this has implications for any all-Ireland League which might develop.)

  12. #50
    First Team EalingGreen's Avatar
    Joined
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    2,333
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    22
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    105
    Thanked in
    74 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    Wales has a big gap in standard between its top team (TNS) and the promoted teams into the Cymru Premier, but there is no depth to that league (the other teams are pretty much sh!te, even Connah's Quay). And the gap in support between clubs in Wales is so minimal as to be of almost no financial significance. It's not like TNS are getting thousands more at games than newly promoted Flint Town United. Contrast with Shamrock Rovers vs St Francis or Cabinteely.
    You overlook the fact that Cardiff and Swansea, the two biggest Welsh clubs by far, play in the English system, as do the next three biggest clubs, Newport, Wrexham and Merthyr.
    And, of course, much of the rest of the English system is just an easy drive away, so it's relatively easy for those clubs' fans to travel/receive away support.

  13. #51
    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
    Joined
    Aug 2002
    Location
    In the long grass
    Posts
    32,098
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    1,642
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    3,322
    Thanked in
    2,030 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    How many of those countries have football as their fourth most popular spectator sport domestically though ?
    Again, not a unique situation. Look at Finland and Slovakia with professional ice-hockey leagues, Lithuania with a professional basketball league, rugby being bigger in Wales than it is here, and so on.

    We need to stop thinking we're so unique, when we're just not.

    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    We tried a pyramid before, and it gave us 3 teams in Galway city. We've also tried de-facto pyramids before - which was the multiple times we've let in the best teams from the Leinster Senior League (e.g. St James's Gate, St Francis) whenever we needed to fill a gap.
    Neither of those are pyramids. Again, I'll point you to the example of Tralee Dynamoes having to withdraw from their own league, wait half a year for a match, and then when the A League folded and their LoI application was denied, they had to wait half a year for a match again before going back to the foot of the Kerry pyramid and fight their way back up. Look at Cabo getting parachuted in with no time to build a competitive team and flopping badly in their (potentially promising, based on initial crowds) debut season? Promotion gives a club momentum and something to build on.

    Why would any team want to join the LoI if that's the risk they're taking? But that's what you're trying to implement in your suggestion.


    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    We could well have St Francis from the LSL joining just one tier below a team that is in the Europa League.
    So what?

    Should they not be promoted to a division where they won't be playing the European teams until they're good enough to compete with those teams that they won't be playing against? Should they be like Bart Simpson in remedial class, going slower than everyone else and hoping to catch up?

    Are Athlone, Wexford and Rovers II holding up Rovers, Bohs and Dundalk one division higher?

    I actually can't fathom what your point is here.
    Last edited by pineapple stu; 24/11/2020 at 8:23 AM.

  14. #52
    Reserves Bunny Kelly's Avatar
    Joined
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Dublin
    Posts
    262
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    4
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    38
    Thanked in
    24 Posts
    If we managed to squeeze out enough teams for a third tier could it help support grow with more competitive games for the smaller teams, fighting for promotion or relegation? Obviously the bottom of the third tier may struggle for support but it could be a more competitive division as you won't have sides with much more financial muscle coming down from the Premier Division.

    Also could we allow these sides go back to Saturday/Sunday afternoon games if they wish? Evening games are great for adults but to grow as a family club you need to be able to bring kids, I started going out going to Kilkenny games as a 7/8 year old on Sunday afternoons & it sucked me in for the next 15+ years, the argument that you cant compete with GAA but looking at the crowds it is worth trying for some clubs
    Last edited by Bunny Kelly; 24/11/2020 at 12:43 PM.

  15. #53
    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
    Joined
    Aug 2002
    Location
    In the long grass
    Posts
    32,098
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    1,642
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    3,322
    Thanked in
    2,030 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Bunny Kelly View Post
    If we managed to squeeze out enough teams for a third tier could it help support grow with more competitive games for the smaller teams, fighting for promotion or relegation?
    If it didn't work for the A Championship, why would it work now?

    I think the costs of a national third tier - with underage structure and the glittering prize of promotion to the joys of the First Division - are too much for it to ever work. I'd much rather see a regionalised First Division than a third tier tbh

  16. #54
    Reserves Bunny Kelly's Avatar
    Joined
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Dublin
    Posts
    262
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    4
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    38
    Thanked in
    24 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    If it didn't work for the A Championship, why would it work now?

    I think the costs of a national third tier - with underage structure and the glittering prize of promotion to the joys of the First Division - are too much for it to ever work. I'd much rather see a regionalised First Division than a third tier tbh
    Was the A championship ever given enough time? Regionalising definitely a fair option & will help keep costs down for smaller clubs, whatever way you do it I think the more clubs in the system the better

  17. #55
    First Team
    Joined
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    1,257
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    398
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    418
    Thanked in
    247 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Bunny Kelly View Post
    Was the A championship ever given enough time?
    It felt like as soon as it delivered the LOI with 3 clubs in Galway city it was binned

  18. #56
    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
    Joined
    Aug 2002
    Location
    In the long grass
    Posts
    32,098
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    1,642
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    3,322
    Thanked in
    2,030 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Bunny Kelly View Post
    Was the A championship ever given enough time? Regionalising definitely a fair option & will help keep costs down for smaller clubs, whatever way you do it I think the more clubs in the system the better
    Arguably a fair point. I agree with you the more clubs the better; I just think expanding the FD and regionalising if you get to sufficient numbers would be the better way.

    But while you have the Tralee A Championship experience, then you won't get much in the way of new clubs. That's the real issue here. The complete disconnect between LoI and the rest.

  19. #57
    First Team
    Joined
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    1,257
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    398
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    418
    Thanked in
    247 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by EalingGreen View Post
    I can't comment on Iceland, Luxembourg, Malta, Georgia, Wales (as per P.Stu), but you already have a directly comparable example, right on your doorstep. And while Hurling is no big deal in NI, our population is less than half of yours, not so wealthy, with the same one big city dominating (not Bangor, btw) and the same "pull" from across the Irish Sea.
    Yet we have now built a very healthy pyramid, with the various divisions reasonably competitive within themselves and the member clubs pretty stable.

    Or look a little further to Scotland, which has only a slightly bigger population, and if it doesn't have Gaelic games, or much rugby, does have two giant clubs which dominate the domestic scene to a huge extent, all in a country which is much more spread out geographically.
    Yet they manage to operate a pyramid with a 4 x division senior league, above the Highland and Lowland Leagues (fifth tier), plus another 8 Divisions down to tiers six and seven.

    Both countries have worked very hard in recent years to develop and refine their respective systems, with reasonable success in the main, so it can be done.
    NI and Scotland are not directly comparable to the LOI. Football is the biggest sport in both of those countries. It is Scotland's national sport, and if NI had bothered to pick one it would have gone for football too. Both places have a very long tradition in football, which very few places in ROI outside of Dublin have (and even in Dublin it's a chequered picture). The strongest part of the island of Ireland for football has always been the north-east, hands down. And no accident that the game was brought to there from Scotland. You can't hold up a place where football is at its strongest and claim there's no difference between it and places where the game is clearly not as strong.

    I'm not sure I'd describe the NI football pyramid as healthy btw, as it's basically a dead zone below the top tier when it comes to crowds. It is, however, stable in terms of both finances and membership - which is an important strength of the northern system vs the south. But it was that way long before the pyramid was introduced there. So it's not the pyramid that is making it a more stable structure. And my argument is that a pyramid on its own would actually INCREASE instability in the LOI, by adding in new clubs continually who just aren't in a position to compete.

    What is very telling in NI football is its demographics. Only about 10-15% of the clubs in the 3 divisions at the top of the NI pyramid are from areas which would be considered to have a majority nationalist background (and one or two more which would be evenly balanced/neutral) The rest are in areas which are very strongly unionist - Coleraine, Ballymena, Larne, Carrick, Ballyclare, Loughhall, Dundela, Ballinamallard, Portadown, Ards, Bangor, Knockbreda, Banbridge, Tobermore, Limavady, Portstewart. I could go on, but it's clear that the vast majority of teams in the Northern pyramid system are from very unionist-dominated areas. Which basically makes one of my key points for me - about the impact that football being only the 4th most popular spectator sport in the south has. Unionists turn their backs on the GAA (no breaking news there), so it's not a competitor in large swathes of the north. But in the places where GAA is strong, Irish League club football is weak or non-existent. So the north proves the point re the impact football in the south faces from having a uniquely high number of more popular spectator sports. And as someone who wants football to prosper, it is deeply worrying how polarised the senior game is in the north. Especially when you consider that NI itself is at demographic parity, and about to have a catholic/nationalist majority population. The Irish league is becoming a bit of a minority entity in terms of participants and supporters, which is in no-ones interests. I wouldn't call any of that healthy in such a divided place. And I don't see the pyramid system there changing it either.

    Quote Originally Posted by EalingGreen View Post
    The big successes were Cork - which should never not have had a top level club (imo) - and Derry, which only came about by happenstance. And while Bray and Longford have done ok (tbf), they've hardly pulled up any trees, while the others all failed (as did later pop-up clubs like Dublin City etc). And as you say, that was over a third of a century ago.
    You've ignored Cobh. They never 'failed'. They were in the LOI for 24yrs, were relegated from the Premier Division when it was reduced in size in 2009, dropped out for a few years to sort themselves financially. and then came back again and have been in the LOI ever since. Ironically they had to wait a few extra years to do so because they lost a play-off against Salthill Devon in the period when the LOI did have a 3-tier pyramid. That's Salthill Devin btw - who joined the LOI in the short window when it had a 3-tier pyramid (losing the promotion play-off but getting in anyway when Kildare dropped out) ; lasted 3 seasons where they finished bottom of the FD each time, and then dropped out of the LOI. In contrast with Cobh, who have been happily back in the league since 2013 (?) without needing the pyramid for that. The irony of arguing that a pyramid system would be more stable or better in the face of the contrasting and interlinked fortunes of those 2 clubs.

    Cork should indeed never have not had a top level club in the LOI. In the same way that Derry should never not have had a top level club in the IL (which it doesn't currently btw).

    Quote Originally Posted by EalingGreen View Post
    I'm genuinely not out to have a pop, but if there are clubs out there with potential etfc, why do they need to be approached by the FAI? Why aren't they banging on the door at Abbotstown to find out what they must do to get into the First Division etc? It's tempting to think that if they have to be asked, then maybe they don't posess the necessary wherewithal in the first place.
    This has been discussed ad infinitum on here previously. The LOI is a financial killing zone for intermediate clubs. There is quite a step up in terms of talent and finances required to be genuinely competitive. And a lot of clubs just don't see the benefit of distracting themselves from their core stuff that they do currently to join a league where they'll struggle to make much progress and it'll just end up bleeding them dry of money. The FAI need to make it less financially suicidal if it wants more intermediate clubs with real potential to aspire to be new entrants. And then there's the issue with Tralee Dynamoes, who were essentially punished for joining the 3rd tier/Championship level in the LOI when they had to go back to the Kerry system again at a lower level. So why would any club want to take the organisational, financial and footballing risks involved ? . It's telling when you look at the 4 applicants the LOI received this month. One is basically a replacement for the Limerick that dropped out last year ; one is trying to usurp the existing Wexford club ; One lasted only 5 seasons in the LOI previously, and appears to be motivated at least in-part by a desire to not be carved out of the academy system and enforced linkages between LOI clubs and the junior system ; and the fourth seems a bit bonkers, and has no players or stadium. It's a rather dysfunctional pool of suitors by any objective analysis.
    Last edited by EatYerGreens; 24/11/2020 at 4:42 PM.

  20. #58
    First Team
    Joined
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    1,257
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    398
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    418
    Thanked in
    247 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    Again, not a unique situation. Look at Finland and Slovakia with professional ice-hockey leagues, Lithuania with a professional basketball league, rugby being bigger in Wales than it is here, and so on.

    We need to stop thinking we're so unique, when we're just not.
    Are you really providing as evidence that Ireland isn't unique in Europe for having football as its 4th most popular domestic spectator sport, the presence of a few countries where football is the 2nd most popular ? Just have a think for a second there whether that comparison stacks up. Unless you can show me where else in Europe has football equally as low down its pecking order for spectators (and 2nd doesn't do it) then the point is made. Ireland IS exceptional in Europe. Because there is nowhere else that's the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    Neither of those are pyramids. Again, I'll point you to the example of Tralee Dynamoes having to withdraw from their own league, wait half a year for a match, and then when the A League folded and their LoI application was denied, they had to wait half a year for a match again before going back to the foot of the Kerry pyramid and fight their way back up. Look at Cabo getting parachuted in with no time to build a competitive team and flopping badly in their (potentially promising, based on initial crowds) debut season? Promotion gives a club momentum and something to build on.
    Tralee Dynamoes is a good example of how ill thought out the system was when the Championship/A League was introduced by the FAI. But I'm not convinced it's as strong as you're suggesting re pyarmids. Bury FC were kicked out of the Football League, and their 'replacement'/continuity club had to go way down the pyramid looking for somewhere to join (but crucially didn't have to go to the bottom of the pyramid). The Kerry system could have chosen to let Tralee back in at a higher level - the same as the LSL usually does when Dublin clubs drop out of the LOI, without making them go all the way to the bottom of the system there. Because there is choice at play here. Kerry football basically chose to teach Tralee a lesson.

    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    Why would any team want to join the LoI if that's the risk they're taking? But that's what you're trying to implement in your suggestion.
    Let's start with what we hopefully all agree on : That the current system isn't working, and hasn't worked for the last century. There is therefore a need for a new way of doing things.

    Your solution is to view a deep pyramid as a silver bullet. That it on its own will do the job, and nothing else is required. A theological belief in essence.

    I want to see a pyramid, but am stating that having clubs entering the bear pit of the LOI purely because they're good at an Intermediate level has failed numerous times across the last century. Whether they end up in the LOI by promotion from the level below, by being picked out of a hat, by cupping John Delaney's balls, by being the last team standing etc etc. History has shown time and again that no matter how they end up there, putting Intermediate clubs into the LOI wrestling ring usually ends up with them getting hurt and/or ejected.

    Hence I'm suggesting that we try something different. Something that hasn't been done at any point over the last century when the other approaches have largely all failed. And something which common sense suggests should have a decent chance of success. And that is to appreciate the difficult circumstances that domestic football faces in many parts of Ireland (4th most popular etc) ; identify clubs which currently or potentially have the ingredients that would suggest a fighting chance of success in the LOI (relatively large catchment area with a good footballing tradition, decent facilities, strong footballing pedigree etc) ; and work with them to get them into a fighting fit shape. So that not only are they in a better position to get promoted up the pyramid when one hopefully gets introduced, but they're also less likely to have to tap out again quickly when they do enter the LOI wrestling ring.

    Is that really such a bad idea ?
    Last edited by EatYerGreens; 24/11/2020 at 4:30 PM.

  21. #59
    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
    Joined
    Aug 2002
    Location
    In the long grass
    Posts
    32,098
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    1,642
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    3,322
    Thanked in
    2,030 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    Are you really providing as evidence that Ireland isn't unique in Europe for having football as its 4th most popular domestic spectator sport, the presence of a few countries where football is the 2nd most popular ? Just have a think for a second there whether that comparison stacks up. Unless you can show me where else in Europe has football equally as low down its pecking order for spectators (and 2nd doesn't do it) then the point is made. Ireland IS exceptional in Europe. Because there is nowhere else that's the same.
    Well I've lots of issues with this. Leinster, Munster and Connacht drew in 230k between them for the Pro 14 in 2019/20. Nigel's attendance stats here show 470k at the LoI in 2020. That difference would hardly be made up by the AIL.

    In any event, viewing figures for football are way above the other sports. Yes, it's mostly either Premier League, Champions League or the national team, but the figures would still exceed most other sporting events except probably the All-Ireland final. Football's not unpopular in Ireland. The LoI is. That then makes it quite comparable to other countries.

    And anyway, 2nd or 4th most popular doesn't really matter. "Not number 1" is the main point - let's allow that non-LoI spectator figures don't count - and anything after that is semantics really.

    So as I say, lots of issues with that paragraph.

    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    Tralee Dynamoes is a good example of how ill thought out the system was when the Championship/A League was introduced by the FAI. But I'm not convinced it's as strong as you're suggesting re pyarmids. Bury FC were kicked out of the Football League, and their 'replacement'/continuity club had to go way down the pyramid looking for somewhere to join (but crucially didn't have to go to the bottom of the pyramid).
    Bury went bankrupt and reformed. That's not remotely comparable. What Tralee were looking to do was be relegated one tier. That happens in lots of leagues - but it's not an option here.

    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    Your solution is to view a deep pyramid as a silver bullet. That it on its own will do the job, and nothing else is required. A theological belief in essence.
    Where have I said that?

    I believe it's the best system. That doesn't mean that it's a silver bullet, but if it's the best system - and I've given lots of reasons - then it's the best system.

    You can't say that "having clubs entering the bear pit of the LOI purely because they're good at an Intermediate level has failed numerous times across the last century." because it has never happened in a proper fashion - that is, allowing clubs build up sustainably at a lower level and aspire to a higher level, and use natural momentum to grow the club.

    What you're suggesting but it's more akin to, say, Kildare County. Let's be honest - what would have happened differently in Kildare under your suggestion?

  22. #60
    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
    Joined
    Aug 2002
    Location
    In the long grass
    Posts
    32,098
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    1,642
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    3,322
    Thanked in
    2,030 Posts
    Actually, I see I've included a covid season for the eggs there. 2018/19, Leinster, Munster and Connacht had 400k between them at games. Comparable to the LoI, and that's of course in large part because the structure allows those three keep their international players. Put the two leagues on a comparable footing and that difference wouldn't exist.

    There's other factors too of course - away fans from other countries should be discounted, fewer games in rugby (but would they keep up the interest over a longer season?), I've not included play-offs or European ties, etc. But bottom line here - I don't think it's at all correct to say football is intrinsically behind rugby here in terms of interest.

Page 3 of 10 FirstFirst 12345 ... LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Best Team/Teams
    By Duggie in forum Ireland
    Replies: 34
    Last Post: 19/12/2008, 2:52 PM
  2. Supporting two teams.
    By SunderlandBohs in forum Premier & First Divisions
    Replies: 206
    Last Post: 07/10/2008, 11:51 PM
  3. youth teams
    By balls in forum Premier & First Divisions
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 18/03/2008, 10:32 AM
  4. Teams you hate
    By Metrostars in forum Other Sports
    Replies: 100
    Last Post: 02/09/2006, 4:13 PM
  5. 2 best second placed teams.....
    By onenilgameover in forum Ireland
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 14/10/2004, 1:22 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •