David’s Story

David WalshDavid Walsh recalls his 25 years as a Shelbourne supporter from being selected as a ball boy in a 1986 match against St. Pat’s to attending the Deportivo la Coruna Championship League qualifier match in 2004. He shares his views of summertime soccer, and his favourite Shels player (Mick Neville) and manager (Dermot Keely) in the modern era.

Listen here [play time: 34:47 mins] or Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 15.9 MB. Right-click, save as…]

Duration:  34:47 mins.


Project Name: Shelbourne FC Oral History Project

Track Number: 09

Name of the Interviewee: David Walsh (DW)

Name of Interviewer: Marc Redmond (MR) on behalf of Dublin City Library and Archive (DCLA)

Place of Interview: Conference Room, The Lab, Dublin City Arts Office,  Foley Street, Dublin 1

Date of Interview: 22 March 2011

Name of Transcriber: E–quip Business Solutions, amended by Ellen Murphy, DCLA

MR: This interview is taking place on the 22nd of March 2011 in the Lab on Foley Street.  Present are David Walsh and Mark Redmond doing the recording on behalf of Dublin City Library and Archive.  David could you just tell us your first name, your date of birth and your occupation?

DW: Okay, my name is David Walsh.  My date of birth is the 9th of December, 1975 and I’m currently a Civil Servant and I’m also a part-time DJ.

MR: And how long have you been a supporter of Shels?

DW: I would reckon it will be 25 years … actually it will be 25 years at Christmas because the first match I went to was Christmas 1986.

MR: And how did you become interested in the club?  What can you tell me about your earliest memories of supporting of the club?

DW: You see I got into supporting the club because my football coach at the time in the school one day after football training he went along and asked a few people would they be interested in doing ball boy for a football match.

MR: Where were you at school at the time?

DW: I was in St. Catherine’s up in Donore Avenue.

MR: Okay.

DW: And Dominic Fox is the guy’s name and he was asking people would they be interested in ball boy so … now this was not long after the ’86 World Cup …

MR: Right.

DW: … so everybody was football bonkers in the school so I went along, I had no hesitations about it, I just said I’d go.

MR: Did you go with a group of friends that day or did you go on your own or did you go with an organised group with the coach?

DW: There was a few of us on the team who were actually doing ball boy that day …

MR: Right.

DW: … and it was a Sunday before Christmas, it was bitterly cold and the match actually was Shelbourne against St. Pat’s in the First Division and it was up in Harold’s Cross.

MR: Right, that’s now the greyhound stadium isn’t it?

DW: That’s the greyhound stadium now, yes, well it always was the greyhound stadium but Shels played a few years … played a few seasons of home game over there so.

MR: Right.  Is there anybody else in your family interested in it, in football generally or in Shelbourne as a club

DW: Well Dad, he didn’t play football, like my brother, he didn’t play either, so it was just a case of this came up and I thought well I’m going to get to a football match I’m going to be a ball boy and I thought it was like you’d see in the television of 35,000 people …

MR: Right yes.

DW: … and all your heroes and there was going to be big flashing lights and floodlights and subs and big huge ads and stuff, I thought it was going to be absolutely glamour beyond glamour, because the only football we saw on television was Match of the Day or the Big Match or the World Cup or the odd European games, international, so my idea was football, crowds, loads of people and it was going to be the best thing ever.

MR: And what as the atmosphere like in those first couple of matches, was there …?

DW: Well you see the first … when we went up to the match I’d never been in the greyhound stadium before …

MR: Right.

DW: … so went in and there might have been a 1,000 or 2,000 people, I don’t know, at it, right, but the amount of people that was there like straightaway so like where’s the seats and where’s the big cantilever stand and the floodlights and then after a minute like I suddenly realised that there was something different about it like, it wasn’t like playing football in the yard or in the park, there was a crowd there and people are there and there was a few people in scarves and I remember one or two people there they were absolutely roaring at the game and even there was the dog track in between the pitch and the actual … where the supporters were …

MR: Right.

DW: … you could hear people shouting and to some extent it wasn’t as loud as the matches but it was actual real shouting and I just realised that there was something about that.

MR: Can you give me an example of any of the songs or chants or did they …?

DW: I can’t remember chants.

MR: Yes.

DW: I actually cannot remember any chants at the match so … now that’s not to say they weren’t chanting and I’ve been told that there was been chants over the years but I don’t remember anything.

MR: What about away matches, did you get to travel to any of the away matches?

DW: At that time no because I was only a school boy …

MR: Right.

DW: … so away matches were positively out of the question.

MR: And what about later?

DW: Later, the first away match I remember going to was a game in Dalymount Park, now when I was about 13 like I would go to the matches on my own because like my dad he just said “Go off on your own and do your own thing” so I remember going one night to Dalymount Park and I’d seen it on … I’d been in there once or twice for friendlies …

MR: Yes.

DW: … but this was my first sort of like league match at it and you had the big floodlights and it had the big stand and it was a ground you saw on television so that on its own was a little bit special.

MR: Yes.

DW: Like it looked different to Tolka Park …

MR: Yes.

DW: … and it felt different so it was actually nearer to my house but it didn’t matter the fact was you were away …

MR: Yes.

DW: … and they were at home so it was a completely different buzz.

MR: And like all the grounds you’ve been going to over the years which ones would you say you most like or least liked going to for whatever reason?

DW: The one I least liked of all of them and a lot of Shelbourne fans would actually say the same thing is Richmond Park which is the home of St. Patrick’s Athletic.

MR: Right.

DW: Now back in the ‘90s they had a little bit of a mini renaissance and at the time their manager, Pat Dolan, this ground sounded like it was the second coming of the Bernabéu (laughter) or Wembley or the Maracanã stadium and you’d go in this place and the stand would look like it was taken out of a Subbuteo box …

MR: Right yes (laughs).

DW: … it was absolutely tiny.  Now the ground was packed after the game, to its credit, there was a good atmosphere at it but lord it was an absolute … it was like a building site at the best of times (laughs).

MR: Right yes.  And did you ever get a chance to travel to any European matches or competitions abroad?

DW: Mark, we went to La Coruña in the Champions League qualifier in 2004.

MR: Did you go with a group of friends at the time or … yes?

DW: Myself and my friend and her brother, we went like and it was a case of I would sell my kidney to go to that game (laughter) it was really was going to be a once off …

MR: Yes.

DW: … like a once in a life-time match and I didn’t care I just booked the flight and that was it.  Now a few friends they went over for a few days and I regret actually (laughs) not going over for it because the fun they had and the sessions they had were just completely madness but like I regret doing that but I don’t regret going to the game one bit.

MR: And how would you typically celebrate after a Shels victory, would you all head out for a pint or would you …?

DW: Yes the La Coruña match there was about 300 people went over on a flight that morning and went home that night so there was very little time.

MR: Right yes.

DW: You just come along and you’re just told “Get on that bus” and out you went.

MR: Yes.

DW: And then you saw the lads and they were coming back on a Friday and Saturday completely blistered like with having the craic but like for the league games and for the home games depending on what we’re doing, who we’re doing, we’d go to any one of the pubs from Maher’s down in Fairview …

MR: Yes.

DW: … sometimes the Cat And Cage, sometimes Fagan’s, sometimes Kennedy’s, sometimes we go into town, like it was really a case of what will we do next?

MR: Yes.

DW: Like some nights we’d go into Tolka Park in the bar and we’d have the greatest fun because there’d be hundreds of people there and there would always be good craic going on.

MR: Yes.  What would you say is your definitive greatest moment, most enjoyable moment or most enjoyable match or period in the club’s history?

DW: There would be a few.  Now the 2006 season when we nearly went … the club more or less went bust and we were given a league license and Dermot Keely took on the job of managing the team like it was his second tenure in charge and he literally stuck together a team in 2 days and we played … there was a friendly announced in Tolka Park against a Waterford selection and there was about 400 people went to it on a midday on a Sunday morning, lashing rain, but everybody who went to that game actually knew that that buzz, like that really was a comeback for Shelbourne and it was a big game to be at, it wasn’t the biggest game ever but to us it was really two fingers to everybody who thought we were going down.

MR: Well that’s what it looked like in 2006, they’d 83 goals in 112 games and Jason Byrne scored something like 15 goals in 26 league games.  2006, would you have said that that was a good year in the sporting sense, in the club’s performance sense?

DW: That was a very, very special season in spite of the fact that we had absolutely well documented … like horrible problems with the finances, it’s been well documented …

MR: Yes.

DW: … and there’s no need to thrash it out just now but that team they all stuck together because they knew that that was one of the best squads that Shelbourne ever had …

MR: Yes.

DW: … and they knew that love nor money they were going to stick it, they were going to earn their league medal through blood, sweat and tears and they really stuck at it and everybody was … all the supporters were … the fingers were up and the jeers were there and the players admittedly they had every chance to walk away they weren’t getting paid yet they really stuck to their tasks and they won that league literally through passion, like they earned every little bit of respect they got for it.

MR: In terms of the actual sportsmanship skill playing the game and, you know, commitment to the club, who would you say was your favourite Shels player?  Was there any particular one that sticks out or were there two or three?

DW: There is a few, there is a few – Mick Neville is an absolute gentleman of a footballer, he’s probably the greatest footballer ever never to have worn the Irish shirt like and he was a guy who had every opportunity to go over to the UK but he chose to play his football at home and chose to live here in Ireland …

MR: Right.

DW: … he would have undoubtedly even in the Jack Charlton eras he would have undoubtedly got his caps, like he was one of the best.  Wesley Houlihan more recently, one of the best natural footballers ever, like still playing, he’s a folk hero now in Norwich, he’s very, very good.  Like Shero, everybody loves Shero, even when you love him you hate him (laughter) you still love him, like Stephen Geoghan, another great footballer.  Even guys like, going back a few years, Vinny Arkins, Gary Howlett, Garry Haylock, like there’s a lot of players like there’s a lot of players like them who people have very, very, very good memories of and hold them very high in esteem and you can’t blame them.

MR: And how about the club managers, was there any particular club manager you think did more for the club or gave their all to the club more than another or whatever?

DW: Of the guys I remember which would have been the last 20 years Dermot Keely has to be the man who gave the most and brought the most to the club because he took us from being the bridesmaids in the mid ‘90s, of a team who had finished runners up in the league more than once, and he took that team, the team were falling apart after Damien Richardson left, and he took us and brought us to a very, very convincing league double in 2000 and laterally then he returned back in 2007 when the club was … it wasn’t even on its knees it was in the coffin …

MR: Right.

DW: … and he took us and he brought us back to respectability, like of all the managers I would say he was probably the most loyal to the club.

MR: And were there ever any times yourself where you were personally frustrated with the club for whatever reason or if there was that type of frustration with the way things were going, with the finances and all the rest of it, how would you have expressed that?

DW: Jesus every Friday night at 10 o’clock we were (laughs) expressing it (laughter).

MR: Yes.

DW: Back around the late ‘90s like …

MR: You reckon that was in or around probably the lowest point in the club’s history, in around then?

DW: … back then in a playing sense it was because … in ‘98/’99 we didn’t look like we could shovel ****, excuse the language (laughs), we didn’t look anything like what we were doing and we were all told bear with it, bear with it, bear with it and a year later, as I said, we won the league and we won the double and we won it by something like 11 points or something, like we won it by crazy scores and no-one could touch us.

MR: And just in terms of your relationship with players, some of the lads I had in here earlier had been going to matches in the ‘40s and ‘50s and they said it certainly wasn’t uncommon to see a famous player kind of walking down Pearse Street with his Mrs and the kids and stuff and they’d, you know, stop and have a chat with them.  Would you have had access to that type of … that kind of access to players or would you have been interested in approaching players or talking to them?

DW: I wouldn’t be wholly interested, into it, like I wouldn’t be into that sort of thing, to me the players are the players …

MR: Yes.

DW: … the fans are the fans and if you get to talk to the players that’s a nice bonus but to me it’s not …

MR: Being a groupie as opposed to being a fan.

DW: … not I don’t like that sort of thing (laughter) like it doesn’t really matter as much to me but in saying that quite often you’d go to the club bar after a match for a few pints and some of the players would come in for a few drinks and there was never anybody with a high station or acted like they were extra special or important …

MR: Yes.

DW: … they went along and they mingled and they bought you pints, you bought them pints and actually yes one of the times, in thinking about that, one of the ex-players, Kevin Doherty, like his dad is a chap called Liam and Liam is idolised within the club bar …

MR: Yes.

DW: … he’s an absolute gentleman more so than his son is (laughs) and his son gave a hell of a lot to the club (laughter) but like generally to me, no, but the players are the players I leave them be but as I said some of them will gladly mix, like the Geoghan brothers are famous – famous for being party animals at the bar (laughter) but they would never turn anybody down they’d always …

MR: They’d have time for pretty  much anyone, yes.

DW: … they have time for everybody …

MR: Yes.

DW: … they’ll shake my hand any time I meet them.

MR: And would you have followed any other football clubs in Ireland or elsewhere?

DW: I keep an eye out for Sligo and UCD I think because I have a bit of respect for them because they are small clubs …

MR: Yes.

DW: … and they are battling all the Premiership distractions that Shels and Bohs and Pat’s and Rovers have yet they also are a very, very small club in the part and they’re often forgotten about so I always keep an eye out for them and like they’ve battled through thick and thin and they’ve come out fighting so I like to keep an eye out for them.

MR: And besides actually going to the matches are you involved in the club in any other way or what does being a supporter of Shels mean to you in the sense that what kind of relationship do you think should exist between Shels and the wider community say?

DW: Myself now, I’ve helped out a hell of a lot over the years like I’ve done a lot of table quizzes for the club, for the supporters’ clubs, and for the BD, Briogáid Dearg, they are guys who … they make a lot of flags and banners for the match days to raise the atmosphere.

MR: Alright, yes.

DW: So over the years I’ve probably raised five figures for them guys between the lot of them, like I sponsor a pair for the last few seasons, I’ve written for the match day programme, I’ve helped do a lot of work on match days, I’ve helped put music together for the club, I’ve done the MC at matches from time to time and when people are short – I’ve done a lot like but I’m one of these people though I’m a doer so I like to do things and the club is always looking for people to do stuff so I like to help out and feel part of it and give something back.

MR: Would you have ever had an opportunity to come into contact with say your equivalent in another club in terms of setting up things or was there ever any coordinator or contact between people at that level between clubs?

DW: On an official basis I wouldn’t have come across it that much but I do know there’s some of the guys now who’d be stewarding and in security and planning around the match days they would have a lot of liaison with other clubs …

MR: Right of course.

DW: … just I wouldn’t have been at that … any sort of role or function that I had done that but I do know that they do do it and there is good camaraderie between most of the clubs and in general.

MR: Do you think that’s a good way also to kind of share information, as regards security information, the potential for violence between supporters, how do you think that’s kind of panned out now do you think that …?

DW: There’s a little bit of a problem and I say little bit because it’s not been on a grand scale now like some of the stuff you’ve seen in East Europe or in England over the years …

MR: Okay yes.

DW: … or in parts of Germany.

MR: Yes.

DW: But there is a gurrier element, like there is a few young lads that seem to think that supporting your club involves waving bottles and stuff and that like …

MR: Yes, being a part of a firm …

DW: … yes, the firm, yes that’s the word yes but like there’s been a few incidents over the years, like now thankfully nobody has been killed like there’s been nothing like that, there was one isolated stabbing where a guy got a bottle in his eye there about a year or two ago but like that’s been very much an isolated case.

MR: How do you feel about the general … the way they deal with the security of it?  As I say I wouldn’t have a huge knowledge of football but I even passed the Shamrock Rovers ground in Tallaght a while ago and there must have been some match on and I think they had something like four police horses and there was kind of nearly the bones of 50 odd guards and just I don’t think I’ve actually seen that many Gardaí in any one place at any one time (laughs) and is that kind of level … is security usually at that type of a level, is it?

DW: It’s been like that for the last few years.  Now I think that what’s happening is … because in Ireland we don’t have a rowdy element like that …

MR: Yes, yes.

DW: … like we haven’t had football violence so I think the guards, like to give them the respect, they don’t know how to cope with sort of stuff like that …

MR: Yes.

DW: … so they’re taking advice off the forces in the UK or the continent or whatever …

MR: Yes.

DW: … and that’s what they do and that’s what the guards are putting down like, the corporate phrase might be ‘best international practices’ …

MR: Yes, yes.

DW: … but it mightn’t necessarily be the best for Ireland but it can appear very hand heavy at times, very, very … it looks like it’s overkill and I do know some people think it’s intimidating.

MR: Yes, you know people …

DW: I do remember a friend of mine telling me a story there a few year back that he was in work one day and this fella rings him up and he goes “Gerry, did you hear about it?, he said “What?” and he says “Did you hear about the argument?”, he says “What argument?” and he says “The Bohs and Rovers fans are going to have an argument next week at Dalymount” and he says “Feck off, I’m not interested in that sort of tripe” and he puts the phone down, right, your man rings him up a few days later and tells him about this plan they had, right, that about 40 or 50 young lads from … they were going to meet somewhere in Phibsboro to have a fight before the match and just to show the brain structure of these guys the place they chose to have their fight was outside the fire station.

MR: Oh lovely.

DW: (Laughs) So they had about a 15 seconds of a fight and the guards came along and scattered them and that they thought was that.  They decided to have a round two and if they didn’t pick outside the Gardaí station on the  Cabra Road.

MR: Lovely.

DW: (Laughs) Right, it does show the [barometry?] of these people.

MR: Yes.  And what would you say your hopes are for Shels in the future like where do you think it’s going to go from here?

DW: My hope is that the club steadies itself, that somebody greater or good than I and richer and more knowledgeable than I can actually ideally come along, take the club on and actually put it back on a sound footing, like we’re still a bit wobbly as regards ownership.  We’re still wobbly about finances and, okay, we are a little bit healthier than we were a couple of year ago but we’re treading water and every season could … I won’t say it’s going to be out last but you don’t know what’s going to happen next season for sure so some stability in the club would be lovely.

MR: Would you think that even the way things are economically at the moment and all the rest of it that there might be a kind of a resurgence of interest in local things where people basically may have gone off for weekends in Budapest and all 5 and 6 and 7 years ago when the money was there, do you think that there’s any possibility that the way things are going at the moment might bring everything back home, that there might be some kind of a resurgence of interest in it or …?

DW: I’m in two minds about that because back around the late ‘80s and early ‘90s and the game here took a bit of a … it took a resurgence and people sort of realised that you didn’t have to come along and watch Match of the Day to get football, you could go down to Dalymount or Turner’s Cross or Terryland Park in Galway and we had a few new clubs springing through like Kilkenny City and Longford Town and Bray Wanderers won the cup and that took a bit of a resurgence down around the Wicklow area like and there was a bit of resurgence but it sort of wore out and I don’t know was it a case of the clubs didn’t know how to handle it, the FAI didn’t seem to know how to handle it and as well as that you may remember back some time ago there was talk about Wimbledon coming to play football in Dublin.

MR: Uh-huh.

DW: And that certainly took a lot of steam out of the league clubs here because they were trying to defend something that wasn’t going to happen and they were trying to defend it to people who didn’t care about what it was doing or where it was going so that took a lot of energy out of the club and the weekends away, as you said, like we had switched to summer football a few years back and there’s been a lot of things now and unfortunately a lot of the league clubs feel that that leadership in the league has been found and wanting over the years …

MR: Yes.

DW: … and it hasn’t been done necessarily with the best intentions or thoughts of the club so … now there’s every hope that it could change so.

MR: And do you think you’re going to have competition with the rugby phenomenon, is that an aspect of it as well, that you’re competing against that and that the whole rugby thing now seems to have become a brand and then of course they have the new Aviva Stadium as well, do you think that all that is putting soccer under pressure?

DW: It’s putting it under pressure and it’s putting it under pressure again because the clubs whether it’s through the FAI or the clubs themselves or otherwise like they just don’t know how to handle what they have, like I’ve gone to the Leinster matches myself over the last few years and I can say to a few of my female friends let’s go down to a Leinster game and we can go down and we pay and get a nice seat and we can get ten types of coffee and we can get all sorts of food and we’d get a hog roast, like a hog roast, right.

MR: Yes.

DW: You can get all sorts of food you want and when you go down to Bohemians or Tolka Park it’s a hot dog and a cup of tea …

MR: Yes.

DW: … and you’re not paying much less in.

MR: Yes.

DW: Like there’s a lot of image in it as well which the clubs and the FAI and all haven’t got to grips with at all but like there’s a big gap, there’s a big, big gap there like and it’s …

MR: How difficult do you think it would be for somebody to actually get in there and seriously shake things up?  Is there a lot of …?

DW: It’s not going to be that difficult because again if we go back to the rugby there for a moment like and 2 year ago like Leinster played Munster in Croke Park and it was the Heineken Cup semi-final and 82,000 people went to see it and 10 year ago Leinster famously played Munster in an Inter Pro down in Limerick and there wasn’t even 100 people at it, right.

MR: Yes.

DW: Like the Dubs played in Croke Park in the last couple of weeks and they might have got 10-15,000 people at those games …

MR: Yes.

DW: … and when the All-Ireland is coming up they’ll get 80,000/

MR: Yes.

DW: So it’s a case of if people think the game is important, like the Field of Dreams, they will come.

MR: And do you think it comes in waves as well in relation to the national teams’ chances in the likes of the World Cup or the European  Cup, do you think it kind of … like you were saying at the time when you …?

DW: There was undoubtedly some boost off that, you’d be an idiot to say there wasn’t some sort of a bump off of it but yes we have the summer football now so it’s happy enough even though the World Cups are all over the summer and it should be no problem to people to say the World Cup final was last Friday or Sunday there’s a match here next week, the clubs really should be benefitting off it and they’re not, in fact when the World Cup comes the attendances go down because they’re clashing with matches so it’s the opposite is happening when the opposite shouldn’t happen.

MR: Yes.

DW: I’m one of them who is … I’m against summer football and I’m against summer football for a few reasons but at the end of the day like our football season here has just begun.

MR: Yes.

DW: And it could lash rain tonight or tomorrow night, right, and it’s going to lash rain in the winter …

MR: Yes exactly yes.

DW: … like it’s still dark at 7 o’clock tonight so the summer football hasn’t made much of a difference but at the same time I wouldn’t change it again because it’s just confusing people to change it.

MR: Yes exactly, yes.

DW: Like there’s a lot of reasons against it, there’s a lot of reasons for it and they’re both very, very good arguments but I don’t think changing is going to help it or be a help any more.

MR: What do you think of say even in terms of the club management and various decisions, do you think there’s been a lot of forces pulling against each other over the years that have maybe contributed to kind of the periods of stagnation

DW: There is yes like I’ve always said that the FAI because there’s so many power struggles and chambers and associations who are at loggerheads and have different agendas …

MR: Vested interests.

DW: … I’ll say agendas because the school boys will have to look after the school boys and the ladies soccer has to look after ladies and the Irish League has to look after the professional game and so on like but none of them seem to be able to put the greater thing aside …

MR: Yes.

DW: … and try and get it altogether like and the only loser at the end of the day is the supporter who plays the game and goes to the game like it’s no loss to the guys at the top who run it.

MR: Well just before we finish is there anything else that you’d like to add or are there any other funny memories from away games or anything that you might have talked about earlier, any particular funny incidents that you can remember?

DW: Oh there was a few (laughs), there was one night there was a load of us in the bar, the Tolka one, one evening and there was a particular supporter, a guy called Tosh Moore who everybody loves, like he’s a really highly respected guy, but  Tosh was down one end of the bar drinking and myself and my friend we were up one end of the bar and the phone rings in the bar and someone answers it and the bar man looks up, at the top of his voice, “Tosh, phone call”.  Now Tosh is a bit deaf “What?”, “Tosh, phone call”, “What?”, and next thing, whatever it was, the other people at the bar “Tosh, phone”, “Tosh, phone”, “Tosh, phone”, “Tosh,  phone”, “Tosh, phone” so Tosh makes it all the way down to it and he fights through the seal of people and he’s pushing people left, right and centre trying to get to the phone, “Hello?”, there was nobody on it.  (laughter) And the whole bar just erupted laughing at him (laughter) and he was … but there was another night, myself and a couple of friends of mine it was actually a night we played Sligo in the ’96 FAI cup and Tony Sheridan scored a wonder goal and that night was also famous because it was Westlife’s first ever concert, they played half time at the ground, but the bus stopped as usual in Carrick-On-Shannon and we all hopped out and myself and my friend we found a bar, now it was a real dingy bar but we found a bar, so we were sitting down and we were having a couple of pints and the team come, the team walk in, so they all sat down and they had their pints and they had their bits and pieces, whatever, and we were there for, I don’t know, probably till 1 o’clock or something, the guards raided.  And what the guards done in Carrick was … Carrick-On-Shannon is a tiny narrow street …

MR: Yes.

DW: … so all the guards had to do to clear the pub was pull in the cop squad car in, open the doors and knock on the doors of the pubs and clear everybody out and they just pushed them down the end of the street down to the nightclub.

MR: Alright.

DW: (Laughter) So here we were in this place and my friend of mine remembers me because the Garda came in and I gave him my pint (laughs) and he was just looking at it as if to say “What do you do with that?  You’re not drinking it?  I’ll drink it” so we done that but there was … and one other special one and I have to, I know we keep this one, myself and one of my friends we went up because a lad we knew he was playing reserve football for Dundalk at the time and Dundalk were playing Shels reserves this weekend so we went up to Harold’s Cross which is where the game was and we watched the game and we went in and had a pint in the Greyhound and came back out, watched the second half, and we were sitting in the bar afterwards and this was this ‘oul fella, he must have been no more than 5 foot, and he was going around with these two bags and folders and it turned out it was Ronan Keating’s dad.

MR: Right.

DW: (Laughter) And he went “Alright lads, can I join you?  I’m Ronan Keating’s dad” and he takes these folders out and he’s Hello magazine and he had the Evening Herald and he had women’s magazines and books and all (laughs) and it was so hilarious “I like to keep a low profile” he says to us (laughter).

MR: And just there was an incident in August 2006 as a centre back Jason McGuinness lines out for Bohemians against Shels setting up the winning goal for the Dalymount based club and Shelbourne lodged a protest, were you at that match or do you have any memories of it or was it …?

DW: I was at that match.

MR: How was that?  How did that go down at the time?

DW: Jesus it was very, very bad form with the fans because we felt like we had enough ****,on our plate, excuse the language, we had enough going on to actually try and sort out and at the time Bohs were our fierce rivals …

MR: Right.

DW: … they were the team and it was very much seen as it was just dirty tricks to try and grab a couple of points off of us or to try and score a very, very cheap sucker punch and the only thing it done in the long term was it just raised the ire of both sets of fans and both teams for no apparent reason.

MR: Yes.

DW: Like the two managers at the time Pat Fenlon was managing Shelbourne and Stephen Kenny was managing Bohemians and the two of them did not like each other and if they did they made a very good job of pretending they didn’t.

MR: Right (laughs).

DW: So much so that it ended up at the end, the last match, when Shelbourne won the league we actually beat Bohemians in Tolka Park and Stewart Byrne was interviewed after the match and he told Stephen Kenny he could … something that rhymes with “uck off to Scotland” (laughter).  Myself and a friend of mine we made some t-shirts afterwards of that and it paid for Christmas turkeys.

MR: Any other final thoughts?

DW: Any other final thoughts?  Met some great people from supporting Shels, some absolutely fabulous memories, really, really, really enjoyed my … it will 25 years now at Christmas so I might have an anniversary party.  It’s just been … they’ve ripped our hearts out, they’ve kicked us up the arse, they’ve taken ****, loads of money off of us but I wouldn’t change a thing and I’d do it twice as quick.

MR: David, thanks very much for the interview.

DW: Thank you.

MR: Thanks very much for your time.

DW: Thank you (laughs).  (recording ends here)


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