On Tuesday October 4th a statement released by Shelbourne Football Club confirmed the news that the Club would be leaving Tolka Park – its official home since 1989 – and moving into a ground-sharing arrangement with Bohemian Football Club in Dalymount Park.
This is a sad occurrence in the 121 year history of the Reds and one that we at The 1895 Trust did not want to see. It must be noted that if this was a move to a brand new stadium elsewhere in the city it would be greeted positively. As it is the Club and us, the fans, are being moved into the home of our nearest rivals.
It will only become possible to assess whether this is an acceptable solution for the short to medium term future of the club when full details of the deal are known.
The 1895 Trust lobbied for a retention and upgrade of Tolka Park. We did not lobby for a move to Dalymount Park at any stage and we call on the board to name the supporters groups that they, in their statement, say were in favour of this move.
The manner in which the deal was done did not do justice to the legions of Shelbourne fans who hold the club dear. Very little information was made public by Shels, despite Bohs frequently discussing elements of the negotiations with the media.
The fact of the matter is that the club is being uprooted from what is, for many, the only home of Shelbourne they have ever known. This was done with no input from those who pay to watch the Reds every week. In other words: the fans.
With that The 1895 Trust again calls for change in the way the Club is run. The lifeblood of any football club is the fans and yet, in this case, they have been marginalised. Again we propose that fan ownership is the only way forward for Shelbourne and it has been made clear by the current board that all options will be explored when the time comes. Further details of our proposals can be found in our business plan.
We will continue to lobby for fan representation on the steering committee which will implement many of the terms of the Dalymount deal as we feel it is imperative that the Club and the fans go into the new ground on an equal footing with Bohemians in every regard including a club shop, bar etc.
The Trust is bound by a previous members vote in favour of not supporting the Club at any ground other than Tolka Park for home games. Therefore we will hold an EGM in due course where another vote will be taken in light of Tuesday’s news.
The 1895 Trust Committee.