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A Message from Sean Connor

First Team News
// 5 May 2009

I wish to send a message to Dundalk supporters following the events of last Friday night in Dalymount Park.In any season, there are always what I call “watershed” matches. For me, after 11 games, there have been two “watershed” games. Away to Shelbourne on Easter Monday in the EA Sports Cup was totally unacceptable. I felt that the  players responded to the discussions we held following that match. The second “watershed” match, one that I think is much more important for the whole football club, was the game in Dalymount Park last Friday night. That was a watershed game in terms of how angry both the players and the staff were after the game. It’s a professional sport. I know these are strong words – but we felt cheated following the game. My worry is that there is an agenda against either this football club, myself or a combination of both. Why there is an agenda against us – I just don’t know. In the past I have been quite outspoken. I try to speak my mind. I try to be open and frank with journalists. My experience with Bohemians has showed me that this approach leads to making enemies within the journalist profession and the FAI.

Some of the decisions that have gone against us and some of the yellow cards that we have picked up are unexplainable. There was two tackles made the other night by a Bohs player that if were carried out by a Dundalk player they would have received a straight red card. We didn’t even receive a free-kick for either challenge. We get a yellow card for making a complaint and it leads to Harpal getting a red card. Then the same player puts Michael Daly out of the game. It was unbelievable.

We need to look long and hard at this situation at this football club. We need to all understand this agenda that we feel is against us. The reason I think the Bohs game was a watershed was – not because of the performance on the park – but it should be a watershed to unite this whole football club – supporters, players, staff and directors – behind each other. We need to realise that we have no friends in this game and we have to look after each other. I am appealing to our supporters to create a real siege mentality in Dundalk FC for the rest of this season starting on Friday night against Galway. We are under siege at this moment. We need to make sure now that Oriel Park is as hostile as possible to every team that comes here.

I sat down with the board recently. I know that Gerry Matthews has a vision for the infrastructure and youth development at this football club. I have a vision for what we see on the pitch. I am confident that we are all working in the same direction. I am making an appeal to the business community of Dundalk to get behind us. Last Friday night we played against a team with a wage bill three times the size of ours. That is a huge gap. We don’t need to close it this season but we need to start closing it over the next 2-3 seasons. We need to make it sustainable. Whatever increases in budget occur need to be well managed and projected into the future. That’s where the supporters come in. Right now we have one of the best gates in the country and we need to continue with this. I am asking the supporters to please keep coming up to Oriel Park on a match night. Get behind this team. We are trying to play good football and that will continue. However, we need to get a bit nastier between now and the end of the season. It is quite clear to me that in order to win football matches in this country that you sometimes have to be nasty. We need to do this to ensure that we stay in this division and have the opportunity to grow and develop and become the club that I think it can be.

I want to say to Dundalk fans that the next time we go to Dalymount Park we will be a different team. We will never let ourselves be bullied or intimidated the way we were last Friday. This football club will be in the Premier Division next year and within a few years we can be challenging for the title. The personal abuse that I took and the abuse that my players took has only hardened my resolve to be successful in this job. I realise that certain journalists and others will only be too happy to see me fail. But I am relishing this challenge. I have had many of my players coming to me since last Friday coming to me and saying “right Gaffer, we are going to put this right. We are going to be a different team after this and improve”. That’s why I think last Friday’s night was a watershed match. I think it will galvanise everybody at this football club to put things right. We will not resort to cheating or breaking any rules. Our supporters were magnificent last Friday. It was very much appreciated when the fans waited behind last Friday night to show us their support. I know the result hurt but stay supportive of the team and we will make progress.

The squad is paper thin. But Joe Miller, Jimmy Browne and myself are working tirelessly to bring players in to the club. Hopefully we are getting closer to this. Our plans are to have these deals done so that they will happen at the 1st July. Be patient with this regard. Don’t believe everything you read in the papers because as I said a lot of journalists have agendas against me and this club. If you want to know my thoughts on any issue then read these notes in the magazine or on dundalkfc.com because they are the only true communications between myself and the supporters.

Thanks for reading these notes and get behind the team against Galway United on Friday night and in the future. We need your support more than ever.

Sean Connor.

You can read an expanded version of these notes in the Dundalk FC Magazine on sale on Friday night at the Galway game.