Derry City director say ‘thugs can’t be allowed to win’

Aerial view of the Brandywell Sports Stadium.  Picture taken by Aveen Peoples. 3004Ap1

Aerial view of the Brandywell Sports Stadium. Picture taken by Aveen Peoples. 3004Ap1

DERRY CITY Football Club’s Board of Directors fear the fallout from Friday night’s trouble at Brandywell could stop away supporters from attending the club’s home matches.

A section of Cork City supporters were attacked as fighting broke out in the Lecky Road area of the Brandywell at approximately 10.25 p.m on Friday night, forcing some visiting fans to seek refuge in local homes and in the Brandywell Bar.

My fears are that people won’t come to Brandywell. That away supporters who contribute so much, won’t come. Cork City fans are our guests and are very welcome. Derry City cannot let a situation develop where people are afraid to come to a game.

Denis Bradley

PSNI officers then came under attack from a group of around 20 young people who threw stones and bottles.

Derry City Board member, Mr Denis Bradley condemned the ‘appalling’ attacks and said the club are ‘outraged’ by the incident.

Of course, Friday night’s attacks are not the first to occur directly after a Derry City match. Indeed, just 12 months ago, on March 13th 2015, three Dundalk FC supporters’ buses were attacked as they left the Brandywell at Foyle Road with one youth understood to have been struck in the eye by a piece of flying glass.

Derry City FC met with the PSNI and local community groups after that incident in attempts to stamp out trouble on match days.

However, following this latest incident, the Brandywell Board are worried these attacks will prevent away supporters from travelling to matches at the Lone Moor Road venue and have promised a full investigation into the matter.

“The club are outraged by this situation,” said Mr Bradley. “It’s a very serious problem. Yes, the club are condemning it but we’re going further than condemning it.

“We will launch as big an investigation into it as we possibly can to find out what happened. It’s very bad for the club, it’s very bad for the city.

“My fears are that people won’t come to Brandywell,” he added.

“The away supporters who contribute so much, won’t come. Cork City fans are our guests and are very welcome. Derry City cannot let a situation develop where people are afraid to come to a game.

“Isn’t it great when you have a match with 1,000 other supporters in the ground,” he added. “It’s a totally different experience. That’s what football’s about and we don’t want to lose that.

“But if you can’t guarantee people’s security on their way to and from the match, then that needs to be addressed.

“We need to get in top of it and we intend to get on top of it. We’re taking this very seriously. We’ve already had a lot of calls from our supporters asking what they can do and if there’s any way they can help.

“We had a very good night on Friday night. We had a very passionate match full of commitment from both sides and we came out on top.

“It lifted some of the worry from the spectators so the last thing we need is for the joy to be taken away from that.”

Safety Measures

Derry City host Galway United at Brandywell this Friday night and Mr Bradley claims measures will be taken to ensure the safety of the travelling support.

“Those who come on Friday night will be safe and we will be taking measures to ensure they are safe,” he stressed.

“We will keep the fans informed of our plans. We may have to call upon the greater community to help us in solving this but it must be solved.

“This is s a serious issue and we intend to getting to the bottom of it and stamp it out.”

Meanwhile, Cork City Football Club said it utterly condemned those involved in the attack who, it said, in no way represented Derry City FC, their supporters or supporters of the League of Ireland.

The club also thanked locals who came to the assistance of the fans.