Belfast Telegraph

Revolution, revolt and North Korea - Bray Wanderers' chairman issues odd statement

By Michael Sheils McNamee

League of Ireland side Bray Wanderers' chairman has hit out at speculation about the club's financial future in a bizarre statement that pledges to produce a football academy "to rival the best in the world".

In the statement, new interim chairman Gerry Mulvey says that Wicklow County had "attained the accolade of being the North Korea of Ireland for business".

It comes during a difficult month for the Wicklow club, with former chairman Denis O'Connor resigning from his position in the midst of financial turmoil.

According to the Irish Times, prior to Mr O'Connor's resignation all professional players at the club transfer listed themselves as they had failed to receive assurances over their futures.

In the statement Mr Mulvey outlines grand plans for the club's expansion, saying that it will seek permission from Wicklow County Council to rezone land at the Carlisle grounds - something that there has previously been opposition to.

Providing assurances, Mr Mulvey says that the club can now "officially confirm" that it is "financially stable for the foreseeable future and [has] a vision for the future unrivaled by any other football club in Ireland".

Extending the metaphor comparing Wicklow County to North Korea, he says:   

"Like all suppressed people, they eventually revolt, a revolution of football is going to start and Bray Wanderers will be the leaders not just for Wicklow but for Ireland in this revolt.

"Ireland produced great world beating players, from Roy Keane, John Giles, Liam Brady, Robbie Keane to Ray Houghton and many, many more.

"The problem and question is why cannot Ireland produce such great talent anymore.

"We at Bray Wanderers are going to answer the questions and solve this problem."

Answering questions about the future financing of the club - although not going into details - Mr Mulvey says: "To keep the club on a sound financial footing and independently fund this academy and club forevermore, we do have a plan on how to do that.

"This will be at no cost to the Exchequer or County Council. But when you operate in North Korea, these options are difficult to achieve, but we will achieve it."

On potential plans for the club's new academy, he says that its aim is to "the best centre of excellence in Ireland, based on academies such as Barcelona, Manchester United and others in that calibre".

Conor McGregor even gets a mention, with the club's chairman saying that ideally the UFC superstar would be drafted in to respond to "naysayers", but instead he lumps for a quote from Ghanaian author Ernest Agyemang Yeboah: "One great enemy we must all endeavour to fear not conquering is fear. Fear can cripple purpose and purposeful life. Fear asks question we must fear.

"Fear makes vision a nightmare. One must always cross the barrier of fear to get to the great city of true purposefulness. A great number of us who are unable to live to accomplish the true reason for our existence on earth are unable to cross the barrier of fear in the first place.

The statement ends with: "Those afraid and living fear, rest assured fear has no place in Bray Wanderers."

In its response, Wicklow County Council has said that it was "surprised" by the statement.

"As landlord of the Carlisle Grounds Wicklow County Council has not been approached or had any discussion with Bray Wanderers with regard to the redevelopment of the Carlisle Grounds," it said.

"The Carlisle Grounds are zoned recreational and it is a function of the elected members of Wicklow County Council to amend zoning."

The Council also added: "Wicklow County Council would reject any suggestion that the county is anything other than an excellent place to do business and where enterprise is welcomed and encouraged."

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