LAUNCH OF BRAY WANDERERS NEW HOME AND AWAY STRIP
Pictured at the launch of the club's new home and away football strips at the Carlisle Grounds on Tuesday 25 March.
See panel on left for more pictures of the launch
Bray Wanderers Undergo Sea Change
Supporters back “revolutionary” plan to restructure Bray Wanderers
Football club set to become a community-owned organisation
Plans to develop community resources at Carlisle Grounds
Bray Wanderers have received massive support for their radical new plan to turn the club into a community-owned organisation.
Supporters and business leaders have hailed the initiative as “revolutionary” and a “massive boost” for the whole community – while Bray manager Alan Mathews said he believes the move will help make the Seagulls a force to be reckoned with on the pitch.
A new company, Bray Wanderers Community Football Club (BWCFC), has been set up to help run the football club. It will raise funds for the football team, pay down the club’s debt and finance projects to develop amenities for the local community at Wanderers’ stadium, the Carlisle Grounds.
The move is the cornerstone of a comprehensive restructuring of how the Airtricity Premier League club is run. Substantial debt has been written off by some shareholders in the football club, although some historical debts remain.
A majority of shareholders in Bray Wanderers Ltd have agreed to transfer their stakes in the club to the new company once the debt is paid off and help realise the vision of the club being owned and operated by the local community for the benefit of the local community.
Bray Chamber of Commerce President Rory Benville said: “This is an exciting opportunity for the entire community and I am very pleased to be one of the founding Directors. Bray Wanderers are a still a relatively untapped amenity and can contribute immensely to the business community. Having a vibrant football club brings both social and economic benefits. Success on the pitch and increased community involvement can help drive economic activity off the pitch.”
Bray Wanderers Supporters Club chairman Terry O’Neill said: “This is a revolutionary new way of running an Airtricity Premier League club and as a supporter I fully endorse the efforts that are going into this new initiative. It will be a massive boost for the whole community and over time could prove to be the template for clubs like ours to thrive in the future.”
Manager Alan Mathews said he will seek to mirror the positive developments made off the pitch with the on-field progression of the team: “Bray Wanderers have always had a tremendously loyal support and we want to give them and the rest of the community the football club they deserve. This restructuring can help create the conditions for the players and club to thrive.”
The exciting new initiative is being driven by President and prominent Bray businessmen Philip Hannigan – who owns cutting tools company ‘Hard Metal’ in the Co Wicklow Town – and a ‘think tank’ of individuals with a proven track record in developing strong businesses.
The group has volunteered to help steer the club through the changes and use their expertise to rally support from the business community in south Dublin and Co Wicklow.
The new company BWCFC is already formed and is limited by guarantee. It will be operated by volunteers drawn from the community. The founding members of the BWCFC board are:
Philip Hannigan – President, Bray Wanderers FC
Rory Benville – President, Bray Chamber of Commerce
Eddie Cox – Chairman, Bray Wanderers FC
John Hannigan – Managing Director, Sunbeam House Services Ltd
Peter Byrne – Senior Manager, Ulster Bank
Terry O’Neill – Chairman, Bray Wanderers Supporter club
Fund-raising by the new company is already underway – with prominent local businessmen and community leaders being asked to join the 300 Club and help kick-start the move towards community-owned football.
An Advisory Council (BWCFC Council) is being formed to operate the new company. It will consist of an official from Bray Town Council, an elected representative, and members drawn from the Wicklow League, the Bray Supporters Club, other local football and sports clubs, and the wider business community. The Advisory Council will oversee areas that include fundraising, ground development, finance and marketing.
Wanderers are forming closer ties with schools and football clubs in their 250,000-strong target area of Wicklow and South County Dublin. The club is also pursuing a naming sponsor for the Carlisle Grounds, which is prominently placed next to Bray Dart station near the seafront, and will also seek planning permission for a gym, meeting rooms and all-weather training pitch at the stadium.
Speaking about the new plans, Mr Hannigan said: “The old way of running the football club wasn’t working. A new business model was needed – and we believe this is it.”
“Bray Wanderers Community Football Club will be run for the benefit of the whole community. It has a stated aim to return all funds raised through its activities back into developing the team, the grounds and establishing community-based projects for the benefit of the wider local community.”
“The reception we’ve received from the various stakeholders in the new company has been tremendous – there’s a palpable sense of excitement about the club’s future.”
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Directions to the Carlisle Grounds
Take the M50 or N11 southbound from Dublin. Exit at Bray North, take the 2nd exit at the Bray approach roundabout. Drive straight for approx 3 minutes, then cross the Dargle bridge and turn left at the second set of lights on the Main Street (Royal Hotel corner), drive down the Quinnsboro Road. The Carlisle is on your left just before the level crossing at Bray rail Station.
The 145 operates from Heuston Station/O'Connell Street via N11 to Bray. The bus stops in the Main Street. Turn right onto Quinnsboro Road. The Carlisle is about a four minute walk down the road on your left just before the level crossing at Bray Railway Station.
All DART trains south-bound from Dublin stop at Bray Station. Journey times vary: from Dublin city centre it takes roughly 45 minutes.
When you arrive at Bray Station, leave by the main exit and turn right. The entrance and turnstiles are visible from there.
Most south-east-bound trains stop at Bray, as do most trains from the south-east to Dublin.