With the small hiatus from the footballing side of things and with the recent trip to the Brandywell I was thinking about how individuals that have made exceptional contributions to a club over the years could or should be acknowladged and i'd be interested in other peoples thoughts. Obviously there are different circumstanCes that can occur and would be dealt with differently and I am expressing my own opinion so apologies if this is a bit close to the bone for some members here.
We have 2 areas of the club (or previously owned by the club) named after former Chairmen in the McGuill Bar and Hiney Park. The annual Malone Cup is also named after a former chairman. With this in mind I would be interested in who others feel should be immortalised at Oriel Park. My own thinking is that the first chariman/secretary should be obvious to us all and have some part of the club named after him, this is probably a bit open to debate but Jim Murphy's book throws up a few names that could be relevant. Thomas Finch, J.C. Sellars(1908 Olympian also), VJ Burgess (first Dundalk and District League) are a few names that crop up in the early days of Association football in the town that may be worthy of a mention. It seems to me that Harold Macintosh was the first president of Dundalk GNR 1919/Dundalk FC. Des Casey is another person who reached the top table of the game as VP of UEFA, involvement in the FAI and having started as a board member of Dundalk FC. I feel have some more formal acknowledgement at Oriel beyond the association with the trust that he heads as owner of Oriel Park. I would imagine that Jim McLoughlin would be foremost in peoples minds as someone who should have a long term tribute to his achievements, and Stephen Kenny also(?) or is it too soon there, I dont think so myself if there was part of the YDC that could be named.
When it comes to former players naming of stands, rooms etc is probably a bit too much imo, as where do you stop over the lifetime of club, todays' heros could be eclipsed in the future. But that aside the likes of Joey Donnelly, Tommy McConnville are names that could be given to PoTY or top goalscorer awards/trophies.
I think myself that somewhere in the club, maybe the boardroom, there should be a roll of honour that lists all the club chairpeople, club captains and make it an real honour to be bestowed these positions and having names added to the roll. On a slightly different note, over the bar in the Lilywhite Lounge i'd like to see the club's roll of honour up, although that is probably the sort of pretentious stuff you might see at other clubs but not a million miles from adding the star over the crest for 10 titles.
When it comes to supporters, in another thread it was mentioned that tribute in the programme should be the way to go rather than having so many regular '1 minute of applause' etc. Maybe at the fist game of the season this should be done for all supporters that have passed over the previous 12 months? Certainly the way that the friends of Robert McLoughlin did a very classy memorial by fundaising in his name and in their tragedy gave wee Zoe a real crack at an improved life was fitting. Hopefully this will become an annual fundraiser.
Players that tragically die unepectedly, in their playing prime, I think myself that retiring their jersey is the appropriate tribute. I know it was a very difficult time in Derry after Ryan McBride died but from talking to Derry fans over the last while, the renaming of the Brandywell was quite divisive. It involved a 'campaign' to get the renaming to happen so imo if campaigning, lobbying or whatever to name or rename a ground caused an issue then maybe in advance there should be some protocol. Horrible to contemplate at all I know. I wouldnt recall the death of Brian McConnville but maybe other would know what the sentiment, if any at all, was on paying tribute to the player. What was done for Liam Miller by the Cork public was a great tribute and what former teamates did for Mark Farren was superb. There wasnt an issue with naming the new stand in the Brandywell after Mark so I am assuming that it was the overall name of the ground that people in Derry were uneasy with in relation to Ryan McBride.
There are people behind the move from the Athletic Grounds to Oriel Park, the people with the foresight to change the direction of the pitch, put in floodlights, Co-op era that saved the club etc. Internationally capped players? Also Jim Murphy's books and all the players recorded is a fine tribute to all their contributions. In due course Gavin McLoughlin's books as memories of individual seasons in this period will be invaluable for future generations of fans.
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