Since 2010, only one Dublin club has won the FAI Cup ,the winners of the League have been Dublin based 6 times. Today, Dublin has only 1 team in the Top 5 of the Premier Division and 1 in the Top 3 of the First Division.
So, should this worry all Dublin football soccer fans? With thousands of people registered to play the game in Dublin you would think Dublin teams would have a rich pool of talent to pick from! Is the same dedication there as was the case a number of years back? Do junior footballers aspire to play in the League of Ireland? Are they happy playing at their level where it is less hassle? Or maybe if they believe they are good they will be spotted by clubs outside of Ireland anyhow!! Remember every game today played at a high standard is covered by at least one scout from a club outside of Ireland looking for the next rough diamond to send across the water to play their football.
More concerning is the competition from other sports. Rugby and GAA have thrown plenty of money at their sports to get people not only to support but to play. The constant chat in Dublin GAA is Dublin should have 2 teams, one Southside and one Northside. Leinster Rugby is now the place to go on Friday night for a night out with friends or a company night out when their corporate facilities are available in the RDS they will be busier than usual.
They say that the Airtricity League is # The Greatest League in the world yet we do not market it as such. For me the uniqueness of our league is the fact most of the teams who take to the pitch are local lads who have played their football in the community. They have made the step up to what is supposed to be the highest level of football that you can play in this country. Until we start making the players in our league our local Heroes and market them as such we are on to a loser.
I recently came across marketing ideas I would have worked on in one of my previous clubs and it made me smile because I know I can say that ideas worked and how we made it work. These days the audience for our league is bigger than when I first started working in the football business. Clubs now have access to millions of people with the invention of the internet. When I started first you had to ring the journalist to see could we get something into the paper, now at the press of a button your message goes worldwide.
With the rugby and the GAA doing so well the market for getting supporters and young players into our sport is getting tougher. But it is a battle Dublin Clubs must and can win if they get their message out to the masses. But to achieve we must believe. Believe in our product, believe we can improve our product and believe all the stakeholders involved in our game want to achieve.
To do otherwise could be the death nail of our love affair with League of Ireland football.