‘Derry City fans and nobody else should decide name of Brandywell’ - ex-player

Derry & Strabane Council are currently consulting on rebranding Brandywell Stadium.
Derry & Strabane Council are currently consulting on rebranding Brandywell Stadium.

Former Derry City FC star, James Keddy, has hit out at a ‘heavy campaign on Twitter’ inviting nationwide support for the Brandywell Stadium to be re-named.

Keddy, who won the Premier Division title with Derry in 1997, said he was astounded that people from as far away as Cork were being encouraged to vote for the refurbished stadium to be re-named the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.

James Keddy won a Premier Division title with Derry City FC in 1997.

James Keddy won a Premier Division title with Derry City FC in 1997.

“It’s my view that this decision should be left to the people of Derry and, in particular, those who support the local football club,” said the Dubliner.

“Personally, I don’t think it’s right that those residing outside the north-west area, who really don’t have any affinity with Derry, should be involved,” he added.

“I didn’t know Ryan McBride personally, but I’ve watched him play and I’m told he was an unassuming lad who let his football do the talking. So from what I’ve heard, I don’t think Ryan would want the stadium to be renamed in his honour.

“I think the naming of one of the stands in the Brandywell would suffice, given that that honour had already been bestowed on the club’s leading goalscorer, Mark Farren.”

Keddy said he could name many, many Derry City FC people, managers and players, deserving of such an honour.

“Old Trafford will always be Old Trafford, not the Alex Ferguson Stadium. Anfield will remain Anfield, not the Kenny Dalglish Stadium and the same should apply to the Brandywell,” he added.

“It’s an area widely recognised across Ireland and that’s the way it should stay. Having read the proposals online at the weekend, I have to say I was disappointed. The issue is now resembling the ‘X Factor’ and I can’t understand why the local council didn’t have the courage to make the decision on behalf of everyone.

“People from outside the club area should not be encouraged to vote on the stadium’s future via a survey on a website. Let Derry people decide and get on with it.

“Derry City is the best club I’ve ever played for. I met some fantastic people during my time there and I really believe Derry people can sort this - not supporters from other clubs.”