Mark’s Story

Mark FrazerMark Frazer has been a supporter of Shelbourne FC for nearly 40 years. The first match he attended was a friendly against Manchester United in Dalymount Park. He recalls how in the 1970s supporters travelled to away matches on same bus as the players. He also speaks of the excitement of travelling to European cup competitions in Kilmarnock (1997) and Lille (2004). Mark also outlines his own family’s involvement with Shelbourne FC in the past decade – he has volunteered as a medical officer for underage teams; his wife Bernadette has provided refreshments for players and his son John Frazer has videoed matches.

Listen here [play time: 32:38 mins] or Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 14.9 MB. Right-click, save as…]

Duration: 32:38 mins.


Project Name: Shelbourne FC Oral History Project: Phase 1

Track Number: 06

Name of the Interviewee: Mark Frazer (MF)

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 29th of March, 2011 in the lab on Foley Street.  Present are Marc Redmond and Mark Frazer with the interview being carried out by Marc Redmond on behalf of Dublin City Library and Archive.  Mark good morning, thanks very much for coming in.  Could you please tell us your full name, your date of birth and your occupation?

MF: Okay.  Mark Frazer.  Date of birth is the 20th of December 1963.  And occupation, now I’m actually a Staff Nurse now, I qualified 2½ years ago as a mature student.

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

MF: Since 1973 which … what would that make it now?

MR: Not far off 40 years it must be.

MF: Nearly 40 years, yes.

MR: Can you tell me about your earliest memory of supporting the club or who brought you to your first game, that type of thing?

MF: I can actually remember my very first game because my dad brought me to it and I think it was … the only thing is I don’t have a date for it, I know it was either 1973/1974, Shelbourne got to play a friendly against Manchester United in Dalymount Park.

MR: Right.

MF: And as far as I know it was a one all draw.  How we got to go to it is I’m one of nine children so my dad couldn’t really bring many to football matches so …

MR: I can imagine.

MF: … he knew Tom Rowan, Tom Rowan was the Chairman of Shelbourne Football Club, and Tom actually gave him two free tickets and we got into the Directors’ Box in Dalymount Park.  Now Dalymount Park in the ‘70s would have been the Mecca for …

MR: Right.

MF: … it still is the Mecca for Irish football really and as a kid I … if it was ’73 I was 10.

MR: Right.

MF: If it was ’74 I was 11, so to be going into Dalymount Park I’d never been to a football match in Ireland before that even though we’d lived … we actually lived down right beside Lansdowne Road so we would have climbed over the back wall to get into Lansdowne and you’d see Ireland play when there was only 10,000 or 12,000.  But yes Shels against Manchester United was my first match.

MR: And you were actually up in the Directors’ Box …

MF: I was up in the Directors’ Box.

MR: … so you’re dad had a few strings to pull there (laughs).

MF: Yes absolutely (laughs) and it was amazing because as a young kid your first memory of your first football match is you’re going up these wooden steps and you’re going into this arena, and it was an arena then – not so much now because you don’t get the crowds, but I actually … I can’t find … I have an article at home somewhere but there is an article about the match itself and there was thousands at it and when you’re coming from my age group and Shels are getting 600 and 700 at the matches these days and yet you can remember back to Dalymount Park then and there must have been from … reports say anything between 15,000 and 20,000 at this match and the atmosphere was just … it was just a childhood thing that you’re going into this stadium, up the steps, here’s all these huge bright lights, here’s all this atmosphere and it was just amazing.

MR: And do you think that’s changed or how has that changed over the years?

MF: How has it changed?  Well it’s changed for the worst for all League of Ireland because you don’t get crowds like that even at a friendly now you wouldn’t get … I suppose maybe if Manchester United was there tomorrow to play Shels you probably would still get the crowd but yes it’s … the atmosphere was something else that night and then that was it I was hooked.

MR: And your dad would have been a long time supporter of Shels as well can you recount any of his memories?

MF: There’s only one or two, I know my dad did mention to us …

MR: What was your father’s full name?

MF: My dad’s name was Arthur, I don’t know what his middle name … Arthur Frazer.

MR: Yes.

MF: Again originally from O’Connell Gardens in Bath Avenue Sandymount …

MR: Right.

MF: … which is right beside Lansdowne, right beside Shelbourne Park which is where Shelbourne played back in … I think it was in the ‘40s but also his biggest memory and he told us a few times and he brought us to it as well Shels got a bit of money together, how I don’t know, but they actually bought a plot of land down off … beside Ringsend Park, it’s now where the Legoland … well what people in Ringsend call the Legoland buildings are.

MR: All the houses there, yes.

MF: All these red … they’re all coloured houses down in Ringsend and Shels bought this land, reclaimed land, and they started to build their own stadium down there.  Now from what I’ve been told there was some connection with Billy Morton who built Morton Stadium and his plan was with Shels in tow was that they would share, somehow share the ground, Shels paid a lot of it, they built a running track around it and the pitch obviously in the middle of it so my dad actually helped, voluntary helped, to build the turnstiles around this ground.

MR: Oh right yes.

MF: Now back in the ‘70s when I’d got to know Shelbourne my dad brought me … well I used to play Gaelic football in Ringsend park so … but  my dad actually brought me to this plot of land, now when I went to it first it was just … Travellers were living on it, there was no sign of a football pitch apart from you could actually see the terracing, you could see the terracing outside the running track but the running track you couldn’t see the running track it was just full of builders rubble and there was … a builder’s not a builder’s shed but what I was told was the dressing rooms, were still there, it was an arched shape tin can of a building kind of like what you would see in the second World War, corrugated iron …

MR: Ah right yes like the old … yes.

MF: … so you could actually go into it, now it was all falling down, there was graffiti, there was rubbish on the floor, but you could actually go into the dressing rooms and you could actually see where … there was still one of the large baths that they used to use, they didn’t have … well I don’t know if they had … they might have had showers as well but it was like this huge bath that the players would wash in afterwards.

MR: Right.

MF: So that was my first memory with my dad of Shelbourne.

MR: And what was the eventual fate of that ground?  Because you said … because you mentioned there are houses there now, how long did it last or what was …?

MF: Well the houses are on a plot of land alongside it, I know Dublin City Council … I don’t know what … Shels eventually … they had the terracing, the track was built, the pitch was built.  From what I’ve been told they actually only played and trained there, they actually never played a competitive match but I could be wrong, some of the older lads who you interviewed today may have more information on that.  But the track is still there, the football pitch is there, it now belongs to Dublin City Council and they have made it … they’ve done it up now in the last 5 or 6 years into a nice amenity for the area with gymnasium, changing rooms, I think they’ve astro pitches and the full pitch is still there with the running track around it.

MR: Right.  And did you ever travel to any away matches?

MF: Away matches now I can remember two away matches back in the ‘70s with my dad.  As myself and my brothers got older we didn’t travel with my dad we’d actually … he didn’t travel to the away matches we started going to the away matches.

MR: Right.

MF: But there was two in particular, we went down to Athlone, Athlone town, I can’t remember the name of the grounds now, but it was the same year that Athlone got to play Inter Milan.  Was it Inter Milan?  I think it was Inter Milan they played in a European competition.  Travelled down on the bus.  Back then we didn’t have that many supporters travelling to away matches so you’d have the players at the back of the bus and you’d have the supporters at the front of the bus.

MR: You mentioned you would have gone down there with a group of friends, can you give me an example of a typical day from beginning to end and the type of chants you were …?

MF: Oh the chants.

MR: Uh-huh.

MF: Well when I travelled with my dad we didn’t really have chants then but as myself and my brothers got older like say 14/15 there was four of us, there was Arthur, Maurice, myself, Paul, so there’s four of us brothers would travel to away matches on our own when the older brothers started working they’d pay for us to … either we’d bus it down with Bus Eireann, or I don’t know if it was Bus Eireann, or we’d try and get Irish Rail down to matches and yes we’d … again you’d have the ordinary supporters on the bus with the team but you’d have the likes of us and other lads would make their own way down whether it was in cars or by bus.  And there was a few chants, I honestly … if I could remember a few chants now (laughter) you’d have about twenty real hard core Shels fans who would … we’d wear the scarves and the tracksuits … well we wouldn’t wear the tracksuits back then but you wouldn’t call us an ultra group but you would call us the vocal group.

MR: Right.

MF: So you would be giving the players of the opposition a bit of abuse or you would be singing songs, I’m not going to sing a song (laughter), but there was one song about travelling to Harold’s Cross and later on Shels played in Harold’s Cross …

MR: Played in Harold’s Cross yes.

MF: … so Harold’s Cross was like our home for I think it was about 10 years but you’d be singing about Harold’s Cross being the best and … yes (laughs).

MR: And just on the point of view of grounds generally in Ireland were there any particular grounds you most liked or least liked going to for whatever reason?

MF: Most liked, myself and … my dad was a real hard core Shels fan and he would never travel to Glenmalure Park, which is Shamrock Rovers home ground, simply because he said he would never give Shamrock Rovers a penny.

MR: Right (laughter).

MF: Because they were too good (laughs), we were, we were terrible back in the ‘70s and ‘80s and always getting beaten by Shamrock Rovers but we actually … myself and my brother one year one Sunday afternoon we went up to see Shels play, this would have been early ‘80s I’d say, probably ‘81/’82, and we played Shamrock Rovers in Glenmalure Park.  Actually I might have got the dates wrong.  The reason I remember it was Johnny Giles who either was the Ireland Manager or was to become the Ireland Manager …

MR: Right.

MF: … decided to bring in professional football into Ireland and he chose Shamrock Rovers as his team and he basically had professional footballers playing for Rovers against our part-time semi-professional players so we wanted to go and see what all the hullabaloo, everybody saying “Oh Shamrock Rovers were the best and he had them playing lovely football”.  So we went to Glenmalure Park and there was probably 4,000 or 5,000, it was jam-packed, and there was maybe 20 Shelbourne fans jammed in under this shed in amongst thousands of Shamrock Rovers.  Now there has been in the past and there is a rivalry between the two and there has been trouble in the past between the two but, as I say, 20 of us stood in the middle of this terrace in amongst all the Rovers fans and there was no trouble.  There was a lot of banter between the two supporters and we actually won that day which we were completely shocked by because a guy called Jim Byrne, as far as I know, scored the winning goal for Shels and I don’t know if he’s ever scored a goal for Shels apart from that one but he actually scored that day and we had great bragging rights when we went back to school the following day, great bragging rights in … I went to school in Ringsend so Shels and Rovers were big Ringsend rivals …

MR: Right.

MF: … and it was great to be able to go in for once to say “We beat you yesterday” (laughs).

MR: And that long time rivalry was always there.  Were there any other clubs that you either got on better with or were there any other clubs that you had a particularly good relationship with or the opposite, a particularly bad relationship with, that you didn’t like playing or any other …?

MF: I wouldn’t say good relationship, you’d get on with the likes of St. Patrick’s and who else was there?  That was about it really in Dublin.  Obviously we had a great rivalry with Bohemians from Dalymount, from Phibsboro.  Again there would be a lot of banter between the two and there was fisty-cuffs sometimes between the two.

MR: Did you ever witness anything like that personally?  Any violence between supporters or … on a small scale or a larger scale?

MF: I never went out looking for … I wouldn’t be a troublemaker but yes we did witness a few times between Rovers and Shels in fact.  Maybe not so much today because the way we’re in the First Division and they’re in the Premier Division but yes even back in the early 2000s when we were doing well there would be a little bit of agro, as they used to say, between the fans, yes.

MR: And did you ever travel to any European competitions abroad?

MF: My first abroad was … I have to check my dates here, was Kilmarnock in 1997, we played Kilmarnock in I think it was the Cup Winners’ Cup, August 1997, that was my first one.  I was what?  So I would have been 30ish when we travelled, myself … it was Shelbourne’s first … no it wasn’t Shelbourne’s first, it was my first away trip with Shels.  It was one that I could really afford to go to because Kilmarnock isn’t that far away.  Shels that day had something like ten bus loads from Tolka Park.  We headed off at about I think it was 5 o’clock in the morning.  We headed up through Belfast, we were warned beforehand not to have any colours …

MR: Of course yes at the time.

MF: … going through Belfast at the time so I know they had a security guy on each bus to make sure that everybody was compliant with that so we travelled over for the day in convoy, had a great day out, myself and I think about three of my other brothers went as well and my two nephews.  What I will always regret about this and I hope John gets to hear this, my son John, I’m going to apologise in advance, I couldn’t afford to bring John.

MR: Oh right.  (laughs)

MF: John was … that was ’97, so John was born in ’88 so John was 10/11ish, and I’m sorry John I never brought you to Kilmarnock and he holds me to that now (laughs) but we couldn’t afford it, to go at the time, but we had a great day.

MR: He would have been the same age as you’d been going to your first couple of games as well …

MF: Yes.

MR: … so it’s kind of all swings and merry-go-rounds as they say.

MF: Yes, so he always says “Dad I’ll never let you live that down you never brought me.”

MR: And what would you say was your greatest moment that you experienced as a fan of Shelbourne, either the greatest match victory or the greatest season or whatever?

MF: Greatest moment will also include John because back in 19 … I’m terrible for remembering them kind of dates, but back in 1992 I had obviously been supporting Shels since ‘73/’74, we won nothing basically for – ’73, ’83 – nearly 21 years while I was supporting Shels we’d basically won nothing and then in the1991/’92 season we went to Oriel Park in Dundalk for one of our last matches of the season and we basically won the league in Oriel Park and at the end of it was such a relief to actually have won something but John … I actually brought John that day, John was going on 4 at the time and I had started bringing John to matches that year and he became part of the club then, part of that little group that we had between myself and my brothers and friends that we’d got to know and we basically won 3-1 in Dundalk to win the league.  And I can remember John crying, I can remember me crying, I can remember everybody – almost everybody around me – we were crying with happiness because we’d actually won something and we’d never won anything and I can remember John standing up on … at the dressing rooms going into Dundalk there’s this … at the time they had this grill, back then they had major security with huge fences …

MR: Oh god yes of course yes.

MF: … with barbed wire on it, but I remember John as a 3½/4 year old standing up on top of this grill jumping up and down with joy and tears in his eyes and this security man from Dundalk trying to poke him with an umbrella to get him off this grill (laughs) but I’ll remember that forever.

MR: And who would you say was your favourite Shels player?

MF: Favourite Shels player?  There’s so many of them.  I suppose from my generation Mark Rutherford, one of the first black players to play for Shels, he won everything with Shels, he won the league, won the Cup, played in European football, played some of the biggest European games for Shels, scored against Glasgow Rangers, I know he scored in Tranmere when Shels were playing Glasgow Rangers.  I think he may have scored in Ibrox, I could be wrong on that.  But Mark Rutherford, yes.

MR: And a similar situation with managers, I mean shortly after the match that you mentioned there, a couple of years later, 1994, Eamonn Gregg was appointed as Shels Manager, how would you rate him?

MF: Eamonn Gregg was terrible (laughs), he only lasted a few months.  I don’t know what happened behind the scenes but he only lasted something like 2 or 3 months.  But managers, Pat Byrne was an absolute gent, he obviously won the league back in ‘91/’92, went on to guide us through Europe a few times, fell out with the club eventually, I don’t know exactly what went on behind the scenes, but Pat Byrne was probably one of the top managers we had.  And on top of that probably the best manager overall we’ve had was Dermot Keely, he managed us back in the early 2000s and then he came back when Shelbourne were really on our knees back in 2006, he came back and basically kept the club going, so a big thank you to Dermot Keely for everything he’s done for Shels.

MR: And how would you have typically celebrated after Shels victories?

MF: We weren’t big going back to pubs or anything, myself and my brothers, just making our way home, having a good bit of banter, whether it was on the train or on the bus and having a laugh.  Yes, no we were never really … like some people would be going into the local pub afterwards to have a few drinks but no we were always just happy enough to get a win and to go home.

MR: You mentioned earlier as well there was a long period where the club was winning nothing and obviously how did that affect your, your general … how did you deal with losses and disappointments like that?  Was there any particular low point in the club where you can …?

MF: Was there a real low point in the club?  Well obviously 2006 when, when basically Shelbourne went bust and we found out that we were owing millions of Euros to developers and we’d sold on the club, that was probably the worst time.  I can remember in the ‘70s and ‘80s being pretty bad.  I know Shels played a team called EMFA who were from Kilkenny, they became Kilkenny City eventually, and they were probably the worst team in the league and we actually got well beaten by them and I think it was a Cup match or something and that was a low point because you couldn’t … everybody was beating EMFA but we actually ended up getting beaten by EMFA that’s how bad we were at the time.

MR: Were fans generally very disgruntled about all of that, the whole period of the club going into that much debt and owing that much money and …?

MF: Yes a lot of fans when … see some people … the guy … Ollie Byrne who owned the club and ran the club he got us from the ‘70s and ‘80s when we had nothing to … actually got us winning leagues, having our ground in Tolka Park, playing European football, so it was actually such a big step up it was unbelievable and then for basically everything to go bust and then to find out that Ollie had been borrowing money off the sale of Tolka Park so yes that was pretty bad but a lot of people won’t hold it against Ollie because he gave us so many good years but there’s others would say well maybe if he wasn’t so fond of borrowing money off people and maybe if he just stuck to his guns, you know, stuck to League of Ireland football …

MR: Right.

MF: … instead of trying to go for the Holy Grail of the Champions League and playing the big clubs, you know.

MR: And would you be a supporter of any other clubs in Ireland or elsewhere?

MF: Only in Ireland.

MR: Only in Ireland.

MF: I wouldn’t support any English or Scottish or … no.

MR: And besides going to matches in what other ways were you involved with the club and what do you think being a supporter of Shels actually means to you personally?

MF: Being involved with the club, basically up to 2006 we travelled to all … obviously we went to nearly every home match.  My wife and daughter actually started supporting then, when Sarah got old enough then they started coming to matches.  Up to then it was only myself and my son, my brothers would go to the matches, we’d be grand. Then the women started wanting to come along and, you know, they started having a good time.  So up to 2006 we basically just turned up, paid our season ticket or paid into the matches, bought raffle tickets and that was our involvement with the club and then obviously when 2006 came along Shels were on their knees and we kind of said “Well okay well what can we do as a family, the four of us to help the club?” so we continued buying season tickets, paying into matches if we could so we’d be nearly paying in twice obviously because …

MR: Right yes.

MF: … buying raffle tickets.  One of my brothers has a keen interest in film and he – Eric – at the time, I think it was Eric, he said well maybe because we’re now in the First Division rather than the Premier Division maybe it would be a good idea to start recording the matches because RTE wouldn’t be doing First Division teams so Eric recorded the very first match after we basically went bust that went well and then he said well because of work he wouldn’t be able to do it all the time and my son was in college, he’d started college I think the year before, he said well, he said to Eric can I take it over so John took over recording the matches so since 2006 my wife, myself and my son who is 23 now, Sarah who is 18 this year, we’ve basically followed the club all around the country for the last 4½ years recording the matches home and away, I think we’ve missed two matches in the last 4 years.  John records the matches now puts them up on Highlights on the web.  I got roped in, I didn’t really want to do it but John decided he wanted to get interviews after the matches …

MR: Right.

MF: … so I got roped into becoming the interviewer.

MR: Right.  (laughter)

MF: Didn’t want to, but I actually enjoy it now because you get to know the players a lot more, you get to … so we basically … so that’s what we do.  My wife then a year later was asked would she help out under the stands before the matches making tea and coffee for the home team and the officials so Bernadette does that, Sarah helps out with that as well.  Bernadette helps out by trying to rope the players and the managers to come in to do interviews so we’re actually all involved in the club now somewhere and because I qualified as a nurse in 2007 – no 2008 – I actually went to the physiotherapist at the time and I said listen “I’m not a physiotherapist I’m a nurse but if you ever need a nurse is there anything I could do?”.  Now he had an assistant physiotherapist but he said “Do you think you could maybe do an under 19 game?” – not as a physiotherapist but doing the same thing a physiotherapist would – so I basically got roped into that with the under 19s.  Then I started with the A-team, so the A Championship team, which would be the second team. So for 2 years then I became … I won’t call myself physio because I can’t class myself as a physio but I became nurse or medical person for the A Championship team and we enjoyed that because it meant, my wife and I, we travelled all over the country then watching the younger lads basically play football and so I think that’s all we do now.  I think it’s enough that we do (laughs).

MR: What kind of relationship do you think there is now between Shels and the wider community and how do you think that’s changed over the years?

MF: I know the wider community when Shels were doing well Shels were actually putting a lot of money into the community as well.  Now not necessarily in Ringsend but where they’re based now in Ballybough and on the Northside of the city.  Shels at one stage had players going out to local schools, clubs providing coaching for the clubs and for the schools and it was a good advertisement for the club.  Obviously they don’t have the money now so that fell by the wayside but since then I know the FAI took it on board and in the last few years the FAI have spent lots of … millions on providing coaching within the communities, so I like to think that maybe Shels had … I won’t say started it but had a good input into the start of what the FAI are doing now.

MR: And what are your hopes for Shels in the future?

MF: The future?  I’d love to say we’d have our own stadium again somewhere but I can’t see that happening because we basically owe so much money that when we do Tolka Park is due … has been sold to developers, whether it will ever be developed on because of the credit crunch I don’t know what’s going to happen.  It would be nice if we could stay in Tolka Park.  It would be nice if we had our own stadium somewhere, maybe back in our own area which would be Ringsend/Sandymount but I can’t see that happening because there’s basically nowhere really to build down there.  It would be nice to see them getting into a new community maybe in Coolock or Finglas, on the northside of the city, but I can’t see it happening.

MR: In 2006 Shels won the League of Ireland title with top-scorer Jason Byrne and he scored 15 goals in 26 league games, can you remember any of those matches around that period?

MF: I should be able to remember that, those matches, because I’m sure we probably went to most of them.  We definitely went to the home matches at the time, we went to … we did get a few away matches, maybe not all them, but with Jason Byrne is there any particular goal?  No you could just always rely on Jason to get 1 or 2 goals in a game, he was the top striker in the League of Ireland.  He should maybe have got a chance in England, I think he would have been good enough for England, to play in England.  But I can’t remember one outstanding goal.  I know he popped up in important goals but I couldn’t actually pinpoint 1 goal that he would have scored.

MR: And there was another incident in August 2006 where 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, do you remember anything about that incident?

MF: Jason …?  No I actually … I couldn’t … no I wouldn’t know much about that.  I remember people talking about it but I … no.

MR: What about access to the players over the years, did you have reasonably easy access to them where they were kind of approachable?

MF: Access was, is not a problem.  The players were always, always there to talk to people before and after the matches.  There was never, ever a problem.  In fact going back to I think it was the Athlone match I was telling you about earlier on – I could be getting my dates … it could have been a completely different match – but I can remember meeting two Glasgow, two Scottish players who came over and played Shels for … I think they only played about 6 or 7 matches, one of them was a guy called the name of Dixie Dean, now at the time I didn’t know who Dixie Dean was and I didn’t know who Jimmy Johnson was but seemingly they both played for Glasgow Celtic and these were people that my dad would have said were gods when it came to football but I actually got to meet them and got their autographs and it was nothing talking to these two.  Now these were lads well into their 30s, a little bit on the heavy side, but still able to play football …

MR: Right.

MF: … and they came over here for 6 or 7 matches.  Even today in 2011 the players there’s no problem … because of the input we have in the club talking to players is not a problem but you see it with the young supporters coming through now, again the players have loads of time for the supporters and the managers make sure they do as well.

MR: And just before we finish is there anything at all that you’d like to add yourself, you’ve some information there, anything significant that stands out for you in your whole period of supporting the club?

MF: There is one little footnote maybe I’d like mentioned.  Shels in 2004 we had a big European run against … I’ll just down the … KR Reykjavík we beat them in an early round of the Champions League, then we played Hajduk Split, obviously that was the big game because to beat Hajduk Split was such a big thing, we beat them 2-0 in Tolka Park.  Then we got to go on to play Deportivo La Coruña which were probably one of the biggest Spanish sides at the time after Barcelona and after Real Madrid.

MR: Right.

MF: We got to play them in Lansdowne Road and Shels coming from that side of the city, to see Shels back in Lansdowne Road and playing in front of a full house, Lansdowne was full that night apart from the two terracing because of UEFA rules you’re not allowed to stand so they couldn’t fill, but basically Ollie Byrne at the time he could have filled Lansdowne if they had allowed us to stand in the terracing, which we didn’t.  They played away in Deportivo, again we couldn’t afford to go, it was too expensive but myself and my two brothers and my son we knew that win, lose or draw against Deportivo that we would have a second crack at the UEFA Cup because we were beaten by Deportivo we automatically stepped into the UEFA Cup so Shels got to play a team called Lille in France and we decided that maybe we could afford to do that so myself, my two brothers – Eric, Maurice – and my son John we basically drove to Lille, there and back, overnight and we had such a great lads overnight trip, it was unbelievable, just four lads in a little car struggling to get through the middle of the night through England, finding your way through England, through the tunnel – not the Port Tunnel – through the Channel Tunnel and over to Lille and we had a great time.  It was just something you’ll always remember.

MR: Any other final thoughts?

MF: Oh I would like to say thanks to Shelbourne because they’ve been such a bit part of our life and thanks to my family.  Thanks to my wife for being so understanding who for years didn’t understand what football was, not that she didn’t understand football but didn’t understand why Shelbourne was such a big part of our lives, now she’s basically hooked and if she misses a match she’s devastated so … and thank you to Sarah and John and all my brothers and my sister who probably doesn’t go to matches but still asks how Shels are doing.  That’s it.

MR: Mark thanks very much for your time.

MF: Okay, thanks Mark.  (recording ends here)


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