Paul Diamond 'honoured' to take on Derry City Club President role
AS Derry City Football Club continues to blood new local talent on the field of play, one popular former chairman is sure to receive a glittering welcome at the Brandywell tonight prior to the high profile league fixture against bitter rivals, Finn Harps.
Paul Diamond, the main shirt sponsor of the “Candy Stripes” for the past decade, has agreed to return to take up the position as Club President following the passing of Nobel Laureate, Mr. John Hume, last year.
Current chairman, Philip O’Doherty, approached Mr. Diamond recently with the proposal to succeed Mr. Hume and the Chairman of Diamond Corrugated answered in the affirmative, stating that he was delighted to be asked, adding that he felt honoured to take on such a role.
“I was delighted to be asked to become Derry City Club President,” declared Paul at last night’s press conference.
“I believe it’s a great honour to take up the position following in the footsteps of John Hume, a political giant and a great son of our city,” he added.
“Of course my family and I have always been big supporters of the club and while we have closely followed Derry City’s progress over the years, we also hold the view that the club’s success is so important to the local community and the north-west area in general.
“I’ve enjoyed a positive relationship working with Philip (O’Doherty) at board level in the past and, like all Derry City supporters, I am grateful for his generous financial support and good guidance which has kept our club afloat during difficult times,” noted Mr. Diamond.
Indeed, Paul is one of only two chairmen to have led the club to league championship glory since Derry opted to play under the auspices of the Football Association of Ireland over 35 years ago.
The club’s victory, back in 1997, saw Derry win by 10 clear points with Bohemians and Shelbourne chasing the Felix Healy-managed squad to what was a memorable win.
“Those were great times for the club, particularly after that historic ‘treble’ win back in 1989 when another local businessman, Ian Doherty, was club chairman.
“But so much has happened since then,” reflected Paul. “As has been the case with so many football clubs, we’ve experienced both the good and the bad, on and off the field of play.
“Now our local team is under the management of Ruaidhri Higgins, a talented young Limavady lad who plied his trade at the Brandywell having returned home from England and he’s clearly done well since graduating into club management.
“I believe that Ruaidhri has breathed new life into the Brandywell and Philip’s recent proposals in relation to formulating a professional football academy, attracting talent from throughout the north-west area and beyond, is also a very exciting prospect.”
Mr. Diamond also agreed that it had been very difficult for the playing staff to perform to the best of their abilities given the absence of match-day attendances, but he heaped praise on Derry’s progress since the appointment of the new team boss.
“There’s no doubt the league has struggled due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, but I feel we’ve been making good progress and with attendances now being permitted, albeit on a phased basis, I believe Derry City will benefit from that situation, particularly during home matches.
“Hopefully we will continue to compete during the final run-in of the season and possibly stake a claim for European football next season. I think that would be viewed as a great success by our supporters.”
He concluded: “From a personal viewpoint, I’m absolutely delighted to accept the offer of becoming President of Derry City Football Club and I will again look forward to assisting my local club in any way I can.”