It was standing room only in McGuinness’ Bar, Anne Street on Thursday as the Lilywhite Supporters Club held a very informative and entertaining launch night.
The group, made up of long term supporters and volunteers of Dundalk FC, will run alongside the football club in a bid to offer financial support and enhance the profile of the League of Ireland champions.
PRO Stuart McDonnell introduced the committee members and gave an outline of how the Lilywhite Supporters Club would function.
The existing committee, which includes former DFC Trust and Save Our Club members will remain in place for one year. Yearly membership of the club costs €30, or €50 for a family of four. Members of the club will be entitled to one vote each and they will decide who will form the committee in year two. The membership fee can be paid in two installments.
McDonnell said that feedback from the club’s members and full transparency was paramount to running a successful organisation. Monthly or quarterly meetings will be held to inform members of the club’s progress and finances with the aim of “building a kitty to provide Dundalk FC with a safety net, if needed”.
Lilywhite Supporters Club co-chairmen Alan Gray and Dean Arrowsmith also spoke to the assembled crowd.
Gray discussed the benefits to becoming a member, which include a 10% discount in the Dundalk FC merchandise store, discounts in local retailers and entry into a members’ only quarterly draw. The first of these is due to take place at half-time during the President’s Cup game between Dundalk and St Patrick’s Athletic at the end of this month. The prize on offer is a 2015 stand season ticket.
Arrowsmith, who was part of Ian Foster’s backroom staff at Dundalk FC in 2010 and 2011, revealed some of the fundraisers that are planned for the year ahead and said that the Lilywhite Supporters Club would hold events in various locations around town and not be solely based in one location.
A table quiz will be held in the Lilywhite Lounge on Thursday, April 2 while a Black and White Gala Ball is in the pipeline for the end of the season. Registrar David Curran also gave details about the Wayne Mackin five-a-side tournament which will take place in the summer.
Arrowsmith also remarked that the Supporters Club would be working in tandem with Dundalk FC and that they would take a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to any member found in breach of the football club’s rules and regulations.
He echoed McDonnell’s comments that the Lilywhite Supporters Club was put in place to help Dundalk FC if the club was to hit financial difficulty in the future.
“Our aim in the first year is to sponsor a game,” said Arrowsmith. “It will be a game that maybe doesn’t appeal to some, a Bray Wanderers or a Galway FC. We just don’t want to see the club stuck,” added McDonnell.
Dundalk FC secretary Colm Murphy was on hand to wish the Lilywhite Supporters Club well in the future, remarking that the initial meetings between the club and the group had gone well. In return, McDonnell stated that Dundalk FC had been very helpful and supportive with the Lilywhite Supporters Club’s formation.
An entertaining Q&A session with Dundalk FC players Stephen O’Donnell, Brian Gartland and Gary Rogers followed with Lilywhites legend Tom McNulty wrapping up a successful night with a few words of his own, centred around his desire to see Dundalk retain their league title for the first time in the club’s history.