After defeating the bohemians in their first match of the season on Friday, and confirmation of the grant received to redevelop the Brandywell Stadium, it is safe to say that the future is definitely looking bright for Derry City FC, writes Michelle Dunlop.
Despite a difficult few years in terms of finances, the club’s board of directors have also now confirmed that the club are now in good financial standing. Both the expectations of the fans and the board were also surpassed when the red and white army went on to finish third place last season.
Speaking to Newswire, board member Martin Mullan confirmed that the future is looking bright for the candy stripes at the minute.
“We are pleased with the progress of the club," he said. "We had a very successful year last year and we are now at present, in good financial standing."
Mr Mullan said the board were delighted at the news of the grant which will allow them to provide both the fans and the players with better facilities. He said the redevelopment is expected to be completed around September 2013, in time for the City of Culture, putting the Brandywell area on the map and attracting big sponsorship for the club.
“We are one of the lucky clubs with regards sponsorship,” Mr Mullan said. “We have a lot of association with local businesses and every match we have played so far has been sponsored.”
With players such as James McClean and Daniel Lafferty also being bought by Sunderland and Burnley respectively, for what has been rumoured to be six figure sums, this has also boosted the finances of the club.
The appointment of new manager Declan Devine has also boosted players’ morale and has provided the players with good motivation.
“The apprentice has become the master,” said Mr Mullan. “The players are keen and more eager than ever now since Devine was made manager.”
Although some fans had voiced the opinion that Devine had an unproven record at management level, Mullan insists that the board were overjoyed by the overwhelming response from the majority of fans they received in regards to Devine’s appointment.
The loyalty of the fans was also tested this year when the club was dealt a low blow by the announcement that Derry was expelled from the European championships. “Despite the disappointment of this, the fans continued to support us” said Mullan.
“They are fiercely loyal. We may not be the wealthiest club in terms of finance but we are the wealthiest when it comes to loyal fans. They have stuck with us through thick and thin”.
With the grant now confirmed, finances looking better than ever
And by getting off to a good start for the new season, the only way for the candy stripes seems to be up. With the unwavering support from the fans and with the club now in a strong position financially, everyone is feeling confident that Derry will have another successful season
“As a board we will never let things get as bad as they were financially,” said Mr Mullan “and with the fans loyal support and everyone’ continued effort to work tirelessly, the future will be bright”.