Home > Shamrock Rovers Programme General Articles > If you like a lot of success at Rovers, join our club!

If you like a lot of success at Rovers, join our club!

The Champions League Final later this month will see Chelsea take on Bayern Munich in the Allianz Arena in Munich. Shamrock Rovers fans will have an interest in the outcome of that game as a win for Bayern will help Rovers’ seeding in the draw for next year’s Champions League competition. Another reason to support Bayern is that they, like Rovers, are a fans owned club.

Three of the four semi-finalists in the Champions League this year were fans owned club like Shamrock Rovers. Only the Roman Abramovich owned Chelsea, who overcame Barcelona in their semi, were the exception. Barcelona weren’t able to find a way past the blanket Chelsea defence and weren’t helped by having no option B available to them of potentially throwing a “big man up top” when chasing an elusive goal.

Last year, the Professional Football Players Laboratory demographic study found that Barcelona had the smallest playing squad in height terms across the 534 professional clubs playing in the 36 top divisions in UEFA. The Barca squad had an average height of just 5ft 9inches. Second smallest on that list was Shamrock Rovers!

While Barcelona’s squad may be smaller than Rovers in average height, they do have more members than us. Their 180,000 membership dwarfs Rovers’ 425 or so members but we have do have an advantage over Barca. Their membership is currently closed to new members but here at Shamrock Rovers we are very much open for business and new members are very welcome to join.

On Saturday 5th May, Shamrock Rovers will have the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the members club. The outgoing board will be giving members a summary of where the club is at and outline the future direction of the club. The club is in rude health compared with when the original incarnation of the members club, the 400 Club, was formed a decade ago.

Back in 2002, the 400 Club was started as a mechanism to generate funds for the football club, which at that time was privately owned. The aim was to fund the completion of the then stalled Tallaght Stadium project. When Shamrock Rovers entered Examinership in 2005, it was the 400 Club who ran the football club during that time. Fans of Shamrock Rovers joined the 400 Club in large numbers then pumping considerably money into the club to try and save it. Membership reached just below the 500 mark when the 400 Club was ultimately successful in saving and taking ownership of the football club (along with Ray Wilson).

Membership peaked at above 500 in March 2009 when Rovers played their first game in Tallaght. However, membership numbers have dropped from this high point to where they now currently stand, around the 450 mark since then.

There is no doubt that membership numbers have dropped due to the difficulties in the Irish economy and pressure on fans personal finances. The urgent need for funding that was required to save the club during examinership is no longer there. The steady structures that the football club board have put in place, alongside the financial boost of getting to Tallaght and the difficulties that other League of Ireland clubs face have placed Shamrock Rovers in a great financial position. This coupled with the success on the pitch means that maybe some fans feel there is no longer a purpose to being a member.

Membership costs 600 euro for an adult and there is a reduced rate of 300 euro for seniors and students. This is higher than membership costs at other clubs, however Rovers offer an extensive membership package for that price. Existing members at Barcelona, whose membership is closed to new entrants, pay 150 euro giving them a vote in the presidential election, the right to buy a season ticket and get a discount in the club shop. Bayern’s membership is 60 euro but they can keep the price down when they have 300 times the number of members Rovers have. Also their membership only gives them a discount of 2.50 euro on a ticket in the Allianz Arena and a free match programme.

At MLS side Seattle Sounders, season ticket holder are automatically members with the cheapest ticket costing $436 dollars and average ticket $750. For that price they get a vote at their AGM and a discount at their club shop. Closer to home there are a number of clubs in the English Football League that are fans owned. Clubs such as Exeter, Brentford and AFC Wimbledon have membership schemes with an annual cost of less than £25 but membership only gives voting rights at their AGM.

So what do you get at Shamrock Rovers? Membership entitles you to a free season ticket (worth a minimum of 210 euro), priority status for all Friendly, Domestic Cup, European home and away match tickets, access to the Glenmalure Suite for member and a guest on match night, free car park pass as well as the voting rights at the AGM. You also get to say that you part-own Ireland’s most successful football club and know that your financial contribution will help the club progress both on and off the field.

The members club that owns this great football club is only as strong as its members. We are lucky to have close on 2,500 season ticket holders here at Rovers but wouldn’t it be great if we could convert a portion of those committed season ticket holders into members. It would bring a significant financial boost to the club. That could only help Rovers to continue with the success we have seen at the club in the last two years. For fans who become members, they don’t just have a sense of ownership at Rovers, they have actual membership at Rovers. Your club needs you and if you like a lot of success at Rovers, join our club!

Published in Hoops Scene 7 (Shamrock Rovers v UCD/St. Patrick’s Athletic, May 2012)

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