Salthill's "favourable commercial rates" comments leave a sour taste

Article by Kieran Burke - @KieranBTS


One week on from the shocking news that League of Ireland First Division side, Galway United were forced to travel to Athlone to find suitable pre-season training facilities, the clubs desperate search for a local training base hs finally come to an end after ex-League of Ireland outfit, Salthill Devon announced they had come to agreement with United over the use of its facilities for 2019. Positive news right? While Galway boss, Alan Murphy is sure to be delighted and relieved by the announcement made earlier tonight on the Salthill Devon club website, the tone of the statement released by the junior club strikes at the very core of the deeply divided and dangerously toxic relationship currently engulfing Galway United and the wider footballing “family” in the County of the Tribe. In fact, the word tribe sums up the situation in Galway quite perfectly as numerous split factions continue to battle each other for power and money as illustrated perfectly in tonight’s totally laughable and utterly crude club statement by Salthill.

Here is the passage from tonight’s Salthill Devon statement relating to the use of Drum’s training facilities by Galway United:

“The club (Salthill Devon) are pleased that for the second successive year, we have agreed favourable commercial rates with Galway United FC for the League of Ireland club to be hosted at Drom for training facilities for the upcoming season.”

Popular Football Manager Ireland Twitter account reacts in disbelief to seemingly bitter Salthill Devon statement.

The full statement concludes by advertising United’s pre-season friendly against Shamrock Rovers at the Drum venue this coming Saturday, which will of course see a €5 entry fee for spectators. It is highly unlikely any proceeds of what is likely to be a modest gate will go to the League of Ireland club. However, that is far from the issue with this tasteless statement. Instead, it is the reference of “favourable commercial rates” that sits uneasy with followers of the domestic league. For one second am I suggesting Salthill Devon should offer up their fine and top class facilities for free simply to help out a League of Ireland club that has failed for one reason or another to build up its own array of resources? Of course not, but for a local club, that is designed to develop talent in the West of Ireland and greater Galway area, to needlessly taunt its cash strapped national league representative only highlights the deep divisions and personal agendas that continue to widen the cracks that have been chipped away at for decades without opposition from those charged with protecting and developing the game in this country.

Maybe one day a time will come when local clubs, leagues and football associations can co-operate together alongside their League of Ireland representatives in order to give Irish talent the very best chance of showcasing their skills on a national platform as opposed to simply dominating regional leagues to little or no benefit to the greater Irish system but for now it appears power, position and money, like in all walks of Irish society, are being placed ahead of the collective greater good and that mentality sadly shows no sign of switching soon.

For more detailed analysis on the political power struggle currently engulfing football in County Galway, why not read our critically acclaimed opinion piece, our most viewed article of 2019 so far! United’s pain is Galway’s shame by Kieran Burke.