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Waterford Football Club (Irish: Cumann Peile Phort Láirge) is an Irish association football club based in Waterford. The club finished top of the 2017 League of Ireland First Division,[1] winning promotion to the 2018 League of Ireland Premier Division. The club was founded and elected to the league in 1930.[2] Originally the club was based at the greyhound stadium known as Kilcohan Park, but have now moved to the Waterford Regional Sports Centre.

Waterford F.C.
Waterford crest
Full name Waterford Football Club
Nickname(s) The Blues
Founded 1930; 87 years ago.
Ground Waterford Regional Sports Centre, Waterford, Ireland
Ground Capacity 5,500 (3,100 seats)
Chairman Lee Power
Manager Alan Reynolds
League League of Ireland First Division
2017 League of Ireland First Division, 1st (promoted)
Website Club website

Contents

HistoryEdit

Waterford FC 1930–1982Edit

Waterford first participated in the league in the 1930–31 season finishing ninth and again from 1931–32 before dropping out of the league for two seasons. Waterford re-entered the league in the 1935–36 season along with Sligo Rovers. Waterford won the Shield in their first season.

Waterford won the FAI cup for the first time in their history in 1937 beating St. James Gate and also won the Shield.

The club were league runners up in 1937–38 season and again in the 1940–41 season. Both Waterford and League winners Cork United finished on equal points but Cork were awarded the title as Waterford were unable to compete in the play-off due to a dispute regarding payment to players. At the end of the campaign, the original Waterford resigned from the League of Ireland, only for a new entity, with the same name, to be elected in, for 1944–45 season. Waterford won the Shield again in the 1952–53 season and were again runners-up in the League this time to St. Patricks Athletic in the 1954–55 season and again in the 1962–63 season.

The club eventually won the league title for the first time in the 1965–66 season, (under manager Paddy Coad) setting a then league record of 13 straight league victories. The 1965/66 title was the beginning of a hugely successful spell for the club domestically. The following season they played in the preliminary round of the Champions cup against Vorwärts Berlin, an East German and Army side, losing 6–1 at Dalymount Park and 6–0 in East Berlin.

They won the Shield once again in 1968–69 season. Waterford won the league title three times in a row, in 1968,1969 and in 1970. The title was won by Cork Hibernians in 1971 but returned to Waterford in the 1971–1972 season and again in the 1972–73 season.

The following season Waterford won the League of Ireland Cup, however failed to regain the league title. The Club won the FAI Cup in 1980 beating St. Patricks Athletic with the winner from Brian Gardner. Waterford's success in the league brought European football playing against famous clubs such as Manchester United and Celtic. Bobby Charlton had a brief spell at the club in 1976, playing three times and scoring one goal.

Waterford United 1982–2016Edit

In May 1982, the Club changed its name to Waterford United. Alfie Hale was appointed manager. In 1985 the league's membership rose to 22 clubs with the election of six new clubs in 1985. This resulted in the introduction of the present two Division (Premier and First) structure in 1985/86 of which Waterford was a member of the Premier Division. Waterford were relegated to the First Division in the 1988–89 season. Their stay there was short, gaining promotion and winning the First Division title the following season 1989–90. They were unable to retain their Premier Division status the following season finishing in eleventh.

The club was promoted to the top flight in the 1991–92 season finishing as runners up to Limerick. But again the club were unable to remain in the Premier Division for more than a single season suffering relegation on goal difference to Drogheda United.

Waterford United were promoted to the Premier Division, finishing top of the First Division in the 1997–98 season and remained there until the 1999–00 season suffering relegation in the playoffs to Kilkenny City. They were promoted to the Premier Division again in the 2002–03 season.

The Blues reached the FAI Cup Final in 2004, their first since 1986 under Alan Reynolds but lost 2–1.

In 2006 Waterford United were relegated to the First Division. The F.A.I took over the running of the League of Ireland at the end of the 2006 season. Part of this takeover involved the assessment of all League of Ireland sides and the manner in which they were being run including finances, infrastructure, future plans, marketability and previous finishing positions since the 2002 season, (this was due to Kildare County only joining the Eircom League in 2002). Despite finishing in 11th and last place ( Dublin City being the 12th team in the league and subsequently folding during the season) the club were forced to play a relegation/promotion playoff against Dundalk. Despite being defeated Waterford United still stood a chance of remaining a Premier Division side due to the FAI assessment. However, on 8 December 2006 the FAI decided to relegate Waterford to the 1st Division with Shamrock Rovers and Galway United replacing them and the now defunct Dublin City.

Dundalk, despite beating Waterford in a playoff, were controversially overlooked and remained in the First Division. However, on 20 February[when?] it was announced that Waterford United had been invited to participate in the Premier Division for the forthcoming season. Club secretary Larry Gough stated "The club considered the proposal carefully and decided to accept the invitation in the best interests of football in Waterford and the eircom league". However, The "Blues" were relegated that season via the play-offs losing 6–3 on aggregate to Finn Harps.

After the dejection of relegation the "Blues" went into the 2008 season knowing that only one team from the First Division would be promoted and three from the Premier Division as the FAI look to revamp the league. A valiant effort from Cronin's Blues saw them come so close yet so far as the "Blues" fell away towards the business end of the season leaving Dundalk and Shelbourne in a two horse race come the final day of the season. In 2009 former Bohemians player, Stephen Henderson took over as boss at the Club and in his first season, the Blues narrowly missed out yet again for the playoffs and reached the League Cup Final and the FAI Cup semi-finals. Henderson signed a one-year extension to his contract for the 2010 season.

In May 2011 Henderson was relieved of his duties after a string of poor results. Waterford native, Paul O'Brien was appointed manager for the duration of the season. Waterford United finished 5th in the 2011 Airtricity League First Division. The board in the off season then appointed Paul as full-time boss on a year contract for the 2012 season.2012 was a successful year for the blues but they fell four points short of winning the division despite beating champions Limerick four times of four, coming in second place the Blues beat Longford Town 3–1 over both legs with a 2–0 win in flancare park then drawing 1–1 in the RSC and then they played 11th placed Dundalk from the premier division in a two legged game, the Blues were winning 2–1 in the first leg but Dundalk struck late to end the game 2–2, in the second leg there was a full house in the RSC but the Blues lost 2–0 and remained in the First Division for 2013.

The Blues were favourites to lift the Title in 2013 but during the season O'Brien resigned and the Blues finished in a disappointing 4th despite putting a good squad of players together. During the 2013 season former manager Stephen Henderson was seeking money from his previous contract, the case went to court and after it looked like Waterford United would be no more. But the fans stepped in and raised the money and the case was over with Henderson and the club content. Tommy Griffin took over the club in 2014 but they encountered financial difficulties once again, they were forced to release the best players within the club and promote several under 19s players, this led to the club slipping down the table to a 7th-place finish.

After a slow start to 2015 Griffin stepped aside into a new role in the club and experienced manager Roddy Collins was appointed as manager on a two-and-a-half-year deal. Collins side finished 7th in his first season and showed considerable improvement toward the end of the season. In the 2016 season, Collins signed a lot of players he worked with before such as Philip Gorman, James O'Brien and his son, Roddy Collins Jr, and many others. Despite early promise off the field problems effected the club once again. With two games left in the season it was announced Roddy Collins would leave the club.

Takeover and back to original nameEdit

After the suffering many years both on and off the pitch, the Club needed a big shake up from top to bottom. After weeks of speculation on social media the Club officially announced that Swindon Town chairman Lee Power had assumed control. Shortly after taking control, he outlined his plan to rebrand the Club from top to bottom, removing 'United' from the Club's name, going back to the original name of Waterford FC. He also wished to change the Club's crest and jersey to something more traditional. On the 2 January 2017, the Club announced the new managerial team for the coming season. The new Head Coach was former player and manager Alan Reynolds and Pat Fenlon was appointed as the Club's new Director of Football. As the squad started to take shape, the Club officially announced on 20 January 2017 that they would change back to the Club's original identity with a name change to Waterford FC. They also unveiled the new crest which was a modernised version of the Club's first ever crest from 1930. Under the new leadership Waterford FC signed his profile players and ran the club in a new professional way. Crowds rose dramatically with Waterford not once failing to hit at least 1000 people at a home game. The teams 2-1 winagainst Athlone Town on good Friday and the top of the table clash against Cobh Ramblers which was won 4-0 both saw crowds of 1900. The club has developed a strong fanbase over the 2017 season and this was coupled with promotion to the League of Ireland Premier Division, After Waterford beat Wexford 3-0 and Cobh Ramblers were defeated 3-0 by Cabinteely Waterford were officially crowned league champions and promoted back to the Premier Division.[3]

Current squadEdit

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1   GK Matthew Connor
3   DF Patrick McClean (vice-captain)
4   MF Paul Keegan
6   MF Garry Comerford
7   MF Dean O'Halloran
8   MF Shane O'Connor
9   FW Mark O'Sullivan
10   FW David McDaid
11   MF Anthony McAlavey
12   MF Sander Puri
14   DF Conor Whittle
15   FW Dean Walsh
16   DF Jack Lynch
No. Position Player
17   DF Paddy Barrett (on loan from Dundalk)
18   MF Derek Daly
19   MF Owen Wall
21   MF Tunmise Sobowale
22   DF Kenny Browne (captain)
23   FW Aaron Drinan
24   MF John Martin
25   GK Ian McLoughlin
30   GK Matthew Sheehan
32   DF Séan Heaney (on loan from Shamrock Rovers)
33   DF Darryl Walsh
34   FW Colm Whelan

Technical staffEdit

Position

Staff

Director of Football Pat Fenlon
Head Coach Alan Reynolds
First Team Assistant Coach John Frost
GK Coach Dirk Heinen
Head of Youth Development Gary Power
Head of Academy Goalkeeping Billy Hearne
U19's Management Team David Breen & Paul Cashin
U17's Management Team John Furlong & Gary Hunt
U15's Management Team Fran Rockett & Peter Higgins
Strength and Conditioning Gerry Fitzpatrick
Doctor Sinead Fitzpatrick
Physio John Butler
Equipment Managers Michael Walsh

Club StructureEdit

Position Name
Chairman Lee Power
Club Secretary Barry Williams
General Manager Paul Cleary
Commercial Manager Claire Bowman
Communications Manager Mark Hill
Club Treasurer Ian Clancy
Management Committee Tony Burke, Chris Everett, Dudley Higgins, Mark Dunne, Allen Troy
Media Department Brendan White, Mark Hill, Adrian Flanagan, Peter Clancy
Video Analysts Peter & Des Clancy
Official Photographer Noel Browne
Event Controller Mark Dunne
Safety Officer Padraigh Dunne

FansEdit

The club draws its support not only from Waterford City, but also from Waterford County and the South East region as a whole. Waterford fans have organised themselves into 3 fan groups.

GroupsEdit

Blues Supporter Club (B.S.C)

The Blues Supporters Club is the official Waterford FC fans group. It was formed in December 2009 after members of the IBSC (Independent Blues Supporters Club) voted to become an official fans group. From the 2010 season, the BSC organises transport for Blues fans to away games, run the Club shop as well as organise numerous fund raising activities and other match day activities for Waterford FC. There is also a branch of the BSC based in Dungarvan that accommodates Blues fans living in West Waterford. Membership is now open for the 2017 season and information can be found on Waterford FC home page and on Facebook. The current chairperson of the BSC is Alan Forristal.

Dublin Blues Supporters Club (DBSC)

The DBSC was formed in January 2007 as an independent outlet for Dublin and East Leinster based Waterford FC fans. The DBSC organises transport, usually trains for Dublin-based fans to away matches. Despite repeated attempts by the BSC to co-opt the DBSC into its organisation, the then DBSC President, Niall Doherty announced publicly that the DBSC would remain an independent supporters group. The DBSC operated a fan run radio station, Radio DBSC, established in May 2012 which provided internet radio commentary for Waterford United away games. In December 2013, the Radio DBSC Board voted to dissolve itself and merged with local radio station OpenTempo 105.1FM rebranding itself under the name, OpenTempo FM Sports Online. OpenTempo stopped broadcasting Blues games in the early part of the 2016 season. In April 2014, Niall Doherty stepped down as President if the DBSC and handed over the reins of power to his designated successor, Patrick Lynn.

Block E Boys

The BAU was formed in January 2006 to bring an Italian-style Ultra atmosphere to the RSC and to away matches. During the 2016 season, the group went through a re structure and changed the name to "The Block E Boys"

HonoursEdit

European recordEdit

OverviewEdit

Competition Matches W D L GF GA
European Cup 14 3 0 11 15 47
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 8 1 1 6 6 14
Total 22 4 1 17 21 61

MatchesEdit

Season Competition Round Club Home Away Aggregate
1966–67 European Cup PR   Vorwärts Berlin 1–6 0–6 1–12
1969–70 European Cup 1R   Galatasaray 2–3 0–2 2–5
1970–71 European Cup 1R   Glentoran 1–0 3–1 4–1
2R   Celtic 0–7 2–3 2–10
1972–73 European Cup 2R   AC Omonia 0–2 2–1 2–3
1973–74 European Cup 1R   Újpest FC 2–3 0–3 2–6
1979–80 European Cup Winners' Cup 1R   IFK Göteborg 1–1 0–1 1–2
1980–81 European Cup Winners' Cup 1R   Hibernians 4–0 0–1 4–1
2R   Dinamo Tbilisi 0–1 0–4 0–5
1986–87 European Cup Winners' Cup 1R   Bordeaux 1–2 0–4 1–6
Notes
  • PR: Preliminary round
  • 1R: First round
  • 2R: Second round

Notable former playersEdit

Former managersEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit