Today I had what was intended to be an introductory meeting between myself as ‘1903’ Chair and Dundalk FC. I met first with Jim Magilton, then with Jim & Paddy Casey, and then with Paddy alone. Aaron Lawless also joined us for a short time.
Firstly I found Jim Magilton to be open, honest, critical including self critical, and very very positive about working with the supporters club. We agreed that it would be a short term aim to avoid relegation and remove instability in the club between now and the end of the season. Anything in the Cup is a big added bonus. Regarding ‘instability’, we discussed instability about player contracts (obviously only in general, no actual players were discussed. That would be wholly inappropriate and is not our role), owners plans and communications, and instability in the fans relationship with the club and the owners. These were general discussions but open and honest.
The owners knew this meeting was taking place and had ensured in advance that Ailish passed on their regards and best wishes to the club and its new members.
I told Jim a bit of history about previous Supporters Clubs & groups and emphasised that ‘The 1903’ wanted to be ‘Permanent’ and ‘Positive’.
With regards to the relationship between the Football Club and Supporters Club I said we neither wanted to be a plaything of the FC and would not be, or completely separate either. We wanted to be independent but working in partnership for the all round good of the town and community and Dundalk FC.
I asked that they provide Oriel Park for our first face to face meeting. They agreed.
I suggested linking in with the Dundalk Brass Band, local clubs and schools re mascots, and working intensively on a better match day experience.
They advised of major improvements in the bar and food areas and asked us to help build the experience and atmosphere with them.
We agreed to put particular focus, a kind of ‘test’ to a new match day experience for the Shamrock Rovers match on 7 October. We also agreed to a monthly meeting going forward where a wider committee would attend if possible.
As I was leaving Paddy made it clear that video and publicity is available to us.
All in all a good day. ‘From little acorns…..’