Author Topic: Should/could Belfast have it's own professional soccer team Gerry want's to know  (Read 5144 times)

chi

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If the team was to be marketed right Im sure it could catch the attention of the local sporting public.
Because the team would be starting at level 10, promotion through the initial leagues should be rapid. This could actually be a benefit because a winning team attracts support and attention and momentum.
In the second season, the club would be eligible to play in the fa cup, which Im sure you can imagine would generate a lot of media coverage, even if it was in the very early stages of it.
15-20 years ago Ulster rugby would have attracted a couple of hundred hardy souls for the inter provincials against munster, leinster and connacht but the relatively new professional era has captured a whole new audience, strong support and identity and I believe a football team could command similar backing and following if the structures were in place.

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jmac

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Sure that is 3 mile or so outside of Lisburn.
So, sure Manchester Utd's ground, Old Trafford is not in Manchester but in Stretford greater Manchester.

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tboy

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would be an idea to consider, lots of choices from both communities, could be an expression of unity and an example of integration....would love to see it...sure would have its issues, money for good players ...bring it on..
  please, you of all people listening to that old dribble about ' Belfast United' playing on the 'mainland' :D

dmack

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To answer the original question.... no chance of this whatsoever.

There are already 4 long established teams with rich histories and traditions in Belfast. All four have loyal support - the current total average aggregate support of Linfield, Glentoran, Cliftonville and Crusaders is about 6 thousand (check the "attendances" section of the Irish League forum website).
These supporters are generally happy with the local product and I feel would be very unlikely to suddenly drop their clubs for some cobbled together club.
Although I cant speak for everyone, I certainly would have no interest in such a concept and I would imagine it would be folk like myself who turn up at Seaview etc every week who you would need to attract.

Belfast is a football crazy city, unfortunately the Irish league has limited appeal - a shame as the entertainment is well worth a tenner of anyones money (as opposed to the 50 quid to watch Prem football). There are many thousands who follow Man U, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Rangers, Celtic etc etc....
Will they turn out to see Belfast Utd v Macclesfield away from their sky tv screens? No chance whatsoever.

How much would a game cost? It'll be way more than ten quid to make it viable - lower leagues in England average twice that. Will locals pay that for a manufactured team ? No chance.

As for the example of other sports.... Ice Hockey, Belfast Giants had a free run - no existing team and a sport with no history locally so therefore not related to either side. They've done well and continue to do so and good luck to them.  Rugby? Ulster is a de facto National team which garners support from across NI. The marketing folk at Ravenhill have done a remarkable job but they are not a new concept, they have been around for a long time.

So there you have it, Nice idea but absolutely no chance of fruition. Sorry 'bout that!

gerry mcevoy

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The Irish League is ranked 47/54 with uefa league rankings. Malta, San Marino, Gibraltar Faroe Islands etc are ranked below it.
The Irish League is and will remain a part time league, there is no tangibile or realistic chance of the top clubs progressing.
 The current supporters will continue to support Crusaders, Coleraine Ballymena Glentoran etc but the fact you mention the Belfast clubs attract 6,000 supporters, shows how poorly the Irish League is supported.
If a club was up and running in England, there would be limited support initially, but by marketing it correctly, getting into the schools, working closely with the local underage leagues and giving them exposure, there is a hell of a lot of room for supporting a local team.
The key would be too get back to back promotions quickly, like Guernsey fc done, AFC Wimbledon,  Utd of Manchester fc etc, suddenly then you have momentum, the media want a good news story, you have FA cup fixtures etc, supporters will get interested.
Man Utd and Liverpool fans will still go across the water once a year, to see a premiership game, but they will still be in Belfast the rest of the year and if there is a local team rising through the non leagues in England I believe it will  attract the attention of a lot of them.
As you said Belfast is a football mad city, the people in Belfast need a team they can get behind, at the minute the Irish League doesnt do that and is unlikely to ever do it.

stickleback

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If the team was to be marketed right Im sure it could catch the attention of the local sporting public.
Because the team would be starting at level 10, promotion through the initial leagues should be rapid. This could actually be a benefit because a winning team attracts support and attention and momentum.
In the second season, the club would be eligible to play in the fa cup, which Im sure you can imagine would generate a lot of media coverage, even if it was in the very early stages of it.
15-20 years ago Ulster rugby would have attracted a couple of hundred hardy souls for the inter provincials against munster, leinster and connacht but the relatively new professional era has captured a whole new audience, strong support and identity and I believe a football team could command similar backing and following if the structures were in place.

 I'd like if you actually listed the so called Level 10 clubs who you think could afford to start flying to Belfast for matches and how many fans you think they might take.

dmack

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I'm not suggesting the Irish League is anything that its not....It is part time for a reason and I hope it remains as such. Some sides in the South tried full time and it didn't end well.

Neither do I get your point about UEFA rankings. I can assure you those that turn up on a Saturday couldn't give a flying one about that. It is what it is.

My point is that to make a success of a potential new venture you need to attract folk who are prepared to give a perceived inferior product a chance and you will currently find them at Seaview, the Oval etc. I might be wrong but I don't expect them to turn their backs for the new kids in town. And by the way any backers of a new project would bite your hands off for those 6000!

So where does the support for Belfast Utd come from? Those that go across to England/Scotland for the Prem games? You might get some. Those that prefer their Saturday afternoons in the pub watching EPL?  I doubt it very much indeed.  Others who don't currently don't bother with any of the above?
Possibly but Im not sure there would be sufficient willing to spend in excess of 20 quid to see non league teams from England.

The new clubs you mention? Both FC Utd (formed from the supporters of one of the biggest clubs in the world as a protest against the owners) and AFC Wimbledon (formed as a replacement for a club many considered as stolen from their rightful home) both had/have significant existing support. They were never going to be anything but successful - especially Wimbledon. They had momentum before they played their first game, a Belfast club has none of that. It would be starting from scratch.

You say the people of Belfast "need a team they can get behind". Really? Ever asked them? I think you might find they already have quite a few.

Despite all I have said, its an interesting idea and might just be worth someone doing a bit of market research to see if there is a potential interest. If someone wants to give it a go good luck to them and I hope they have deep pockets. I might even pop down for a game, as long as it doesn't clash with the Crues.

gerry mcevoy

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MkDons ( a project I wouldnt agree with), average larger crowds than AFC Wimbledon, so a club can come from nowhere and gain a certain level of support.
I wouldnt be in favour of trying to take a short cut by purchasing a "franchise"  as the Americans would describe a football league club, and relocating it.
By starting in league 10, it would give the club 5 years to develop facilities , generate support, set up underage structures  etc so  by the time it reached the old division four of the football league, there would be a considerable amount of monentum behind them.
In lots of ways actually starting at such a low level has a lot of benefits, the initial start up costs are reduced signifigantly, a good start is almost guaranteed, through cup competitions etc management can guage what level the team is at and what positions need strengthened in seasons to come.
Summer football in the league of Ireland would be another huge plus, with the majority of players there on nine month contracts and their season finishing shortly after the english one begins, would give an astute management team a lot of scope to recruit, in form footballers playing at a respectable level, obviously the more you progress, the less influence this strategy would have but it is an advantage none the  less.
This project is a long way of fruition but I feel well worth exploring.

henry irwin

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 why.

stickleback

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why.

It is natural to want your locality to have top level football, especially in football fanatic N. Ireland. The N. Irish fans at the Euros 2016 were a credit to football, the best in the tournament.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEu9Xy_JK3E

I remember playing at school, at various clubs and organisations. Several were definitely the new George Best imo, except they weren't. I even had a one week trial at Manchester United myself, which didn't work out. One player I regularly played against and with was Norman Whiteside, who went on to break a few records in world football. The thing is, Northern Ireland is only a feeder province in footballing terms. Very, very few ever make it to Premiership level. It would be a very brave move for any billionaire to invest in amateur league stuff in a divided city the size of Belfast.

gerry mcevoy

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 I'd like if you actually listed the so called Level 10 clubs who you think could afford to start flying to Belfast for matches and how many fans you think they might take.
Guernsey fc cover transport and accomadation for 25 persons for  their opponents when hosting a home game. The Belfast club would have to provide a similar arrangement if it was to enter the NWCFL.
 In this day and age it is not really a huge expense or obstacle. Guernsey FC have overcome it, Jersey rugby union are in a similar situation, it would be little more than an inconvenience.

dmack

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Gerry, your glass is certainly half full!

Milton Keynes is a fairly big town which prior to MK Dons had no teams apart from very low in the pyramid. They bought their way straight into the football league, so no starting at level 10 or wherever for them. MK and Belfast are very different places.

Players coming from the LOI? Assuming they want to play football for 12 months of the year(!), the LOI with the exception of Dundalk and possibly Cork isn't much better than the IL. How do you plan to attract players from outside Ireland? Youll need bags of cash because Belfast (tho I love it to bits) wouldn't be first on a young footballers must go to lists. You'll need the cream of the local crop as well, those that currently hop over the water or join the local clubs here.

You didn't address any of my points about where the support would come from or why Belfast "needs" such a team.

Blind faith isn't a plan I'm afraid.

hungry homer

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It is natural to want your locality to have top level football, especially in football fanatic N. Ireland. The N. Irish fans at the Euros 2016 were a credit to football, the best in the tournament.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEu9Xy_JK3E

I remember playing at school, at various clubs and organisations. Several were definitely the new George Best imo, except they weren't. I even had a one week trial at Manchester United myself, which didn't work out. One player I regularly played against and with was Norman Whiteside, who went on to break a few records in world football. The thing is, Northern Ireland is only a feeder province in footballing terms. Very, very few ever make it to Premiership level. It would be a very brave move for any billionaire to invest in amateur league stuff in a divided city the size of Belfast.

Were you found guilty?

stickleback

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Were you found guilty?

Found wanting, more like it.  ;)

JackM

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To answer the original question.... no chance of this whatsoever.

There are already 4 long established teams with rich histories and traditions in Belfast. All four have loyal support - the current total average aggregate support of Linfield, Glentoran, Cliftonville and Crusaders is about 6 thousand (check the "attendances" section of the Irish League forum website).
These supporters are generally happy with the local product and I feel would be very unlikely to suddenly drop their clubs for some cobbled together club.
Although I cant speak for everyone, I certainly would have no interest in such a concept and I would imagine it would be folk like myself who turn up at Seaview etc every week who you would need to attract.

Belfast is a football crazy city, unfortunately the Irish league has limited appeal - a shame as the entertainment is well worth a tenner of anyones money (as opposed to the 50 quid to watch Prem football). There are many thousands who follow Man U, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Rangers, Celtic etc etc....
Will they turn out to see Belfast Utd v Macclesfield away from their sky tv screens? No chance whatsoever.

How much would a game cost? It'll be way more than ten quid to make it viable - lower leagues in England average twice that. Will locals pay that for a manufactured team ? No chance.

As for the example of other sports.... Ice Hockey, Belfast Giants had a free run - no existing team and a sport with no history locally so therefore not related to either side. They've done well and continue to do so and good luck to them.  Rugby? Ulster is a de facto National team which garners support from across NI. The marketing folk at Ravenhill have done a remarkable job but they are not a new concept, they have been around for a long time.

So there you have it, Nice idea but absolutely no chance of fruition. Sorry 'bout that!

My sentiments exactly.....no chance.   :)
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