Posts Tagged ‘Evening Echo’

Media Watch: Evening Echo (Hoops are ones for City to admire)

November 24, 2011 1 comment

Article by Alan Smith and published in the Evening Echo (Friday 11 November)

While City will look to topple them next season, Shamrock Rovers remain a benchmark in terms of fan-owned clubs. Back in 2005, when City were riding high en route to a premier division title, the Hoops were in Examinership.

The passionate support wouldn’t allow the club go to the wall however and after a long convoluted battle, the 400 club acquired ownership of the club at the end of the Examinership period in July 2005.

Fast forward six years from the same first division Cork City had to ply their trade in for the past two seasons to the Europa League group stages, the rise of Rovers under the supporters’ control is a sporting fairytale.

“Being a part owner of the club certainly has made the recent success even sweeter,” Macdara Ferris, an original member of the 400 club says. “I’m not just a fan and I don’t just support the team but I actually part-own, with close to 500 others, the league champions. It is great to be able to say that. When we say that “our” club won the league, we really mean it as we don’t just have a ‘sense of ownership’ but have actually ownership of the club.”

Rovers will pocket over €1m from their success in 2011 and while there would have been a danger of reckless spending under previous ownerships, there’ll be no fear of that with the fans making collective decisions. “The success in Europe has provided a significant financial boost for the club with €1 million coming directly from qualification for the group stages of the Europa League alone. It will up to the board, backed up by the membership, how that money will be spent. Many members will be keen to develop training facilities in Kiltipper, close to the stadium in Tallaght, that can help develop a few more players to join the club to help us maintain this success in years to come.”

One of the biggest benefits of being a fan-owned club – and its the same case with FORAS – is that the board are elected by the members. Ferris attributes some of Rovers’ success to the wide array of skills that board members bring to the table. “The members elect the board at Rovers and we are very fortunate that within our membership we were able to vote directors onto the board with a wide skill set including expertise in marketing, finance, media, legal and commercial matters.”

However, he believes the most important ingredient to their success has been the ‘ordinary’ fans that volunteer their services to the club. “At all League of Ireland clubs there is a huge element of volunteer support in the running of clubs but I think at a members club the wider fan base are more likely to give of their time knowing their work is helping their club. The members helping out on matchday all do jobs that contribute to the club both financially and help add to the club.”