RYAN McBride was officially appointed the new captain of Derry City Football Club in the City Hotel yesterday, the centre-back delighted to succeed Barry Molloy.
And while the 25-year-old defender, who resides in the shadow of Brandywell Stadium, said he was honoured to be asked to captain his home town club, he urged more supporters to return to support the team which continues to be dominated by local players.
Indeed, the meeting also confirmed that work would start on the refurbishment of Brandywell Stadium on May 28th next.
Derry City chairman, Mr. Philip Doherty, confirmed that work to demolish the current Glentoran Stand, would commence at the end of May to make way for the contruction of a new state of the art stand on the Lone Moor Road side of the venue.
Mr, O’Doherty said the project would be completed in “two phases,” with the work on the constructon of a 3G pitch to commence in October.
“I can confirm that Phase One concerns the demolition of the Glentoran Stand, which will commence on May 28th, followed by the construction of the new pitch and the relocation of the greyhound track,” said the chairman.
The new stand, understood to be of a similar construction of that built by the Derry GAA Board at Owenbeg, just outside Dungiven, will incorporate modern dressing rooms, medical facilities and administrative offices.
When completed the new stand will also have provision to add additional seating to accommodate a total of 1,800 supporters.
There will also be function rooms included to cater for corporate and other functions which may also be used by members of the local community.
The construction of a modern 3G playing surface, which will see the traditional slope finally removed, and the relocation of the greyhound track is expected to comment in October and Phase One of the project will be funded by Derry City Council.
Phase Two, which is currently awaiting an official “Letter of Offer” from the main funder, the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL), relates to further leisure provision in the both Showgrounds and Daisyfield areas of the Brandywell.
“The “Letter of Offer” in relation to Phase Two of the development has not yet been received by Derry City Council, but it’s believed that it will come through to complete the funding for the project sooner rather than later,” added Mr. O’Doherty.
“That’s very good news for the club and we believe the refurbishment at the Brandywell will give us a stadium to be proud of. Hopefully then our revenues will increase with more support for the club.
“Due to falling attendance and a lack of finance, we’ve been forced to cut budgets for this season which is not ideal, but we believe new facilities will attract additional support.”
See Tuesday’s ‘Journal’ for full story and in depth interview with Ryan McBride