DERRY City bridged almost a 60 year gap yesterday with the news that a local father and son will again occupy places on the Brandywell club’s Board of Directors.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
Sean and Andrew Cassidy, from the Prehen area of the city, have joined the Board in the company of Ciaran Duffy from local Insolvency Practitioners, McCambridge-Duffy and former Development Committee chairman, Robert Martin.
Indeed, it’s not since the father and son partnership of the late George Sidebottom and his son, Dr. Desmond Sidebottom, back in the early to mid-1950’s, that a father and son had served on the Board.
Announcing the news, Derry City chairman, Mr. Philip O’Doherty said he was delighted to have increased his Board membership to 11, but he also made it clear that he would be remaining in place “provided the directors were happy with my contribution,” he said.
“Our workload continues to increase at Board level and the decision to bring new people on board also brings fresh faces and skills to the table,” added Mr. O’Doherty.
“We are currently getting organised for what we hope will develop into a Europa League campaign in July and, hopefully, we will have more than one fixture in that competition.
“In addition, fundraising has become increasingly more difficult given the times we live in, so it will be good to discuss new ideas which will complement the skills of the existing directors.”
Happy to remain in place as chairman, Mr. O’Doherty, said he was delighted with the progress the club has made over the past few seasons and equally delighted that people now felt comfortable to come forward and join his board.
“This move is simply about beefing-up our numbers to share the workload and, at the same time, help guide and drive Derry City forward as we strike to secure further success.
“I’m very happy to remain in place, provided the directors are happy with my contribution and as long as they want me involved,” he declared.
Mr. O’Doherty agreed that last season’s FAI Cup success had given everyone associated with Derry City a great boost, and he was confident the current season could also prove to be a successful one.
And reflecting back on Monday night’s 3-0 reversal in Sligo, the chairman was confident that the club would bounce back.
“The 2013 campaign has been first class as far as the directors are concerned.
“We’ve lost just two matches - both to the reigning champions - but we have also enjoyed a superb unbeaten run following the first game of the season.
“Hopefully we will see the team return to winning ways immediately against UCD this Friday night and start to build another unbeaten run during the second series of matches.
“We believe we have assembled a quality squad; we are just three points adrift of the league leaders and the new players Declan Devine and Paul Hegarty have brought in this season have gelled very well.
“Our own players continue to improve as the season progresses and I think everyone associated with the club is very happy with the progress we are making.”
However, Mr. O’Doherty was concerned at the delay in refurbishing Brandywell Stadium.
“We remain very concerned with the delay in the redevelopment of Brandywell Stadium and we realise that without that promised redevelopment, our attendance figures will struggle to improve significantly.
“Our facilities may be very, very poor at present, but I can assure all our supporters and sponsors that we are doing everything in our power to keep the Brandywell issue to the forefront.
“We continued to pressurise all those associated with Derry City Council, the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and all our local and national political leaders insisting that the redevelopment of the stadium project must remain a number one priority.
“In fact, if there is going to be any slippage or under-spending within the department, such as the proposed A5 Road Development not going ahead, then we would be prepared to make representations that part of that money could be directed towards the Brandywell to help fund that refurbishment,” he concluded.