One Tribe, United
Like most League of Ireland fans, these bleak winter months are made all the bleaker for me by the lack of our very own Friday night lights to keep me entertained, to give me distraction, and to drive me to distraction too! For me, the wait is only weeks until the off-season ends and I once again get to follow the floodlights down to a game. As I was reminded this weekend, though, such pleasures are not guaranteed to all.
I spent my weekend in Galway with herself, and while pottering about among the heaving crowds on Shop Street I spotted Seán Dunleavy, of the Galway United Supporter’s Trust, big white bucket in hand, imploring the people of Galway to support this club, which has a team in the League of Ireland’s U-19 League. Having met Seán before, myself and herself went over, put a few bob into the bucket and took flags to wear on our lapels. His, and the other volunteers from GUST we spotted throughout the afternoon, is a thankless task.
The story of soccer in Galway in recent times has been of two rather mediocre First Division sides, Mervue United and SD Galway(really Salthill Devon FC), who have made no appreciable impact upon the League, nor does it seem have they added much flavour and atmosphere to an already moribund division of the League of Ireland.
While they are two fine, admirable clubs in their own right (Mervue having probably the best team bus in the whole two divisions of the League!) and it’d be hard to having anything majorly against them in and of themselves – they are after all two small, local clubs who’ve done quite well – what they aren’t, is a replacement for Galway United – the club for whom things went so badly wrong during the 2011 season. And for all that both First Division sides from Galway have their members and followers, supporters and well-wishers neither look likely to become the kind of big, unifying club that Galway as a soccer-playing region needs, and deserves. So the next time you find yourself on Shop Street some Saturday afternoon, in between pints in Tigh Coilí, The Quays and Neachtain’s, if you spot the lads from Galway United Supporter’s Trust, buy a line for their lotto, throw a few bob in the bucket and put on the little white flag, and show your support for a club that wants to compete to the highest level and to be run in the sustainable, supporter-led fashion that will prevent the horrors of 2011 repeating themselves in the land of the Tribesmen.