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Brandywell could be renamed the Ryan McBride Stadium

 

By Gareth Hanna

Derry City are to discuss renaming their Brandywell Stadium after the club's late captain Ryan McBride.

The 27-year-old passed away suddenly after club training in March last year.

McBride, who was born and raised in the Brandywell area, returned from training and told his family he was going to bed. His sister Caitlin found him dead in bed later that evening.

Now the Ryan McBride Foundation, a charity set up after his death "to support, assist and inspire young people to achieve their dreams" is due to meet the club to discuss renaming the stadium, which is currently being redeveloped.

The Foundation are hopeful that the Brandywell could be renamed either 'The Ryan McBride Stadium', 'The Ryan McBride Memorial Stadium' or 'The McBride 5 Stadium', incorporating McBride's squad number at the club.

Any potential name change could be made formal either before the new Airtricity League season or before the first anniversary of McBride's passing on March 19.

Derry City chairman Philip O'Doherty said the club will meet with the Foundation on Monday.

"We have developed very close links with the Ryan McBride Foundation and I would imagine that next Monday's meeting would be informative," he said.

The Foundation are due to host a public meeting at the Gasyard Centre tonight (7.30pm).

"Part of the Foundation's remit from the outset was to create a legacy for Ryan - there is no more fitting a legacy than having the stadium named after him," said a statement.

"It will create a legacy because we hope that in years to come parents will take their children to the stadium and children will ask 'why is it called the Ryan McBride Stadium?' and the story of Ryan McBride is told again."

The Ryan McBride Foundation also said that they hoped the renaming of the stadium could help the club to attract a cross-community support.

The statement continued: "The Brandywell Stadium has had its negative press over the years and we believe the Ryan McBride Stadium is a new start, a fresh start and will attract people back to the stadium and increase sponsorship.

"As a Foundation we have worked on a cross-community basis and last year we worked with children from various areas in the Waterside. We also welcomed some of these children and their parents to Maginn Park for our final league game.

"We believe that as a Foundation, working with these children in their primary schools, we can encourage them and their families to visit the new Ryan McBride Stadium."

To pass, the renaming proposal must go through Derry City & Strabane Council.

The stadium's new Lone Moor Road Stand is set to be named after the club's record goal-scorer Mark Farren, who passed away in February 2016 aged 33.

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