All Island League ‘thumbs up’ from Derry City's Declan Devine
Derry City manager Declan Devine believes an All Ireland League would be great for the entire country.
However, Devine does concede that there still is a lot of work to be done to make sure that all clubs would be onboard with Kieran Lucid’s ambitious plan.
“If there is a process that has to happen then I think it would be fantastic for football on the island,” he insisted.
“I think the biggest clubs can really drive this on, you only have to look at the (English) Premier League since the backing of Sky, it has just went to a different stratosphere. On a smaller scale an All Ireland League would work and I think where we are based it would be fantastic for us to be involved in an All Ireland League.
“For me it would be brilliant, but do I expect it to happen? Probably not, but it’s certainly something which should be discussed openly and people being informed in what’s happening, which I think would be key for everyone and an opportunity now for an All Ireland League is something I wouldn’t like to see wasted.”
Devine believes that managers from Irish League and League of Ireland should be in discussions about the planned league.
“I think we can have an input,” he added. “I trust everybody at our football club to make the right decisions but I think nationwide there’s a lot of experience and a lot of people that have a lot football knowledge and I think that should be tapped into.
“I have heard recently Pat Fenlon talking about it and people like Pat should be involved in the process because they are good football people.
“When I look at it I think the potential is there. Do I think clubs are afraid of change? Yes I do, but for us as a football club, we have been very progressive in everything that we have done and that’s testament to the board of directors and the chairman.
“I think this is a brilliant opportunity to first try and stabilize and enhance the game in Ireland and if anything can come of it then, I would be fully backing it.
“There’s a lot of big clubs on the island of Ireland. You only have to look at the north and you see Linfield, Glentoran, Cliftonvlle, Crusaders and Larne are emerging as well, so there are so many big clubs.”
The Creggan man, who feels that rivalry in sport is something which should be welcomed, believes for the good of the game something has to change.
“Look, somewhere along the line something has to change for the better for the actual industry of football.
“There is no industry here at the minute. Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk are driving it on in our legaue, but as an industry it’s non-existent.
“For an All Ireland League I think it takes football to a completely different level, big crowds, proper games, no meaningless fixtures.
“For me I have always said a bit of hatred in sport is not a bad thing. Fans don’t have to necessarily like other fans.
“I don’t necessarily like every club in Ireland but I respect them and I think sometimes a bit of rivalry does no harm.”