Derry City Chairman, Philip O’Doherty, claims the club’s playing budget is suffering because of poor season ticket sales and believes the club’s dwindling support was a contributing factor to last year’s poor run.
Mr. O’Doherty said the Board of Directors are “extremely disappointed” fans have not backed the club going into a season in which guaranteeing European football is a priority given the refurbished Brandywell is due to open in 2017.
“Sales have been down for the last four years and the Board of Directors are extremely disappointed,” explained Mr O’Doherty, “We need sales to really pick up over the next two weeks. We can’t give the manager more money unless the season tickets pick up dramatically.
“I know the Transfer Window is closed but you can still sign free agents and there is the possibility of signing contracted players again when the window opens in July but none of that can happen without the fans’ support.
“We do believe the players themselves have been disappointed by the low attendances at the Brandywell and we want to change that. I think it contributed to last season’s displays. We want people to support the club through good and bad spells. You have to support the team regardless.”
Mr. O’Doherty acknowledged fans’ concerns over the redevelopment of the stadium causing disruption but said it was imperative to get more supporters through the turnstiles
“We know there is concern about the last few games perhaps having to be played in Maginn Park but if the fans don’t support the team, we can’t give the manager a bigger budget and we mightn’t be in Europe next year.
“We want to make sure we are playing European football next year. The only way to do that is to finish in the top three or win the cup so we need people to support us this season because if they don’t this season we won’t be in Europe next season for the opening of the refurbished Brandywell.”