Only a Game? - Turkish delightful but let’s keep DerrY cITY PURRING

Kyle McDaid from the Brandywell waves his flag inside Brandywell Stadium during Thursday's Europa League game with Trabzonspor. Photo: Lorcan Doherty/Presseye
Kyle McDaid from the Brandywell waves his flag inside Brandywell Stadium during Thursday's Europa League game with Trabzonspor. Photo: Lorcan Doherty/Presseye

As he stood waving his flag at the Brandywell I wonder what Kyle McDaid was thinking.

Kyle, seen here to the right, was photographed by my former ‘Derry Journal’ colleague Lorcan Doherty waving a rather red flag during Derry City’s UEFA Europa League qualifier with Turkish giants Trabzonspor at the Brandywell on Thursday.

The Turks won the game 3-0 and over the two legs they emerged with a 7-2 aggregate score.

Despite the result, fans like Kyle McDaid, the players and the management team did our wee city proud that night.

The players tried their best over both games but the superiority quality of Trabzonspor was the difference in the end.

Be that as it may, our wee city triumphed in the places you’d expect it to - the Derry City fans, the atmosphere and the how can anyone overlook a good old Derry welcome?

Thursday night was one of those matches when the result said very little about the match itself. Of course, when people look back they will see on a piece of paper that the Turks won 3-0 but anyone who was there will remember the fans singing, little Kyle McDaid waving the flag and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness tweeting messages of support from the Glentoran Stand.

Thursday night’s match might have been the end of the road for Derry’s 2013/14 Europa League campaign but for young fans like little Kyle McDaid it could be the beginning of something extra special.

Some reading my column this week might chose to describe it as fanciful nonsense and that’s fine - I’ve had worse, believe me!

The Brandywell was packed on Thursday and atmosphere and in particular, the roar of the fans, was brilliant.

A precedent has been set and call me naive or out of touch but why can’t the same fans who turned up to cheer on Derry on Thursday do the same every other week?

It’s an age old argument in this city but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be talking about it or trying to effect an outcome.

I spoke with Declan Devine, Stewart Greacen and Ryan McBride after Thursday’s game and all three were obviously disappointed at the result but it was obvious they absolutely loved playing football in front of such a vociferous and large crowd.

Ryan McBride who can literally see his house from the Brandywell football pitch said he was honoured to played in such a game and Stewart told me this year’s European campaign was right up there with last year’s FAI Cup final in Dublin.

Obviously, if our wee city is to enjoy nights similar to what happened on Thursday it requires both the team and the fans to work together.

The team and the fans both feed off one another but for too long it has been one sided.

Don’t get me wrong, there are fans who go to the Brandywell and to all of the away games and without them Derry City would not be where they are today but just because you’ve a few hundred loyal supporters doesn’t mean the doors should be closed to increasing the numbers.

It’s fine turning up to watch Trabzonspor at the Brandywell but the team needs you there for Sligo Rovers next Friday night too.

If the momentum continues then who knows, maybe in 20 years’ time little Kyle McDaid will be able to see his house from the Brandywell pitch when he runs out on to the pitch just like his heroes did against the mighty Turks on Thursday night.