Sunday 25 September 2016

Sold for €3.8m: The humble veg patch that was footballing shrine

Emma Jane Hade and Niall O'Connor

Published 09/06/2015 | 02:30

1972: Soccer legend Pele played in the Phibsborough stadium as his team Santos took on a League of Ireland selection
1972: Soccer legend Pele played in the Phibsborough stadium as his team Santos took on a League of Ireland selection
1974: Ireland v Russia. Liam Brady’s debut. Don Givens scored a famous hat-trick
Dalymount Park
1957: Ireland v England World Cup qualifier and a now infamous late goal in the 90th minute for England that ended Ireland’s World Cup dream
1984: Bohs beat Glasgow Rangers 3-2. More memorably, the game took place at the height of the Troubles. A number of travelling Rangers fans became involve in violent scenes

The iconic home of Bohemians Football Club has been sold to Dublin City Council for €3.8m.

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Dalymount Park, located in the heart of the Dublin's north inner city, started out as a humble vegetable plot.

But it gradually grew into the home Irish soccer, hosting some of the biggest legends of the sport - as well as a procession of famous music stars.

The capital's local authority yesterday confirmed they had purchased the site for €3.8m.

The council said that Bohemians Football Club will continue to play their home games there and it will remain as their base.

They also confirmed that they intend to consult with the Football Association of Ireland and Bohemians FC in order to "prepare a comprehensive redevelopment plan for the stadium and the pitch, and seek Government funding to implement it as soon as possible".

The stadium first hosted a game in 1901 when Bohemians took on Shelbourne.

And it international games were played there for a 66-year period between 1924 and 1990.

Brazilian soccer legend Pelé played his only game on Irish soil there in 1972 when his club side Santos took on a team comprised of a selection of players from League of Ireland sides.

The stadium, which is known affectionately by fans as Dalyer, was where Liam Brady first wore the Irish green jersey - in 1974 when Ireland took on the Soviet Union.

The city centre grounds has also hosted a number of concerts, including Bob Marley in 1980 and Ozzy Osbourne's 'Black Sabbath' in 1983.

Brendan Kenny, the Dublin City Deputy Chief Executive said that they were first approached about a possible deal to acquire Dalymount and Tolka Park by both Bohs and Shelbourne Football Club almost three years ago.

He explained that it has not been possible to reach a deal with the latter club in relation to Tolka Park.

"Such an acquisition has now been agreed in principle with Bohemians Football Club and they have reached an agreement with their main creditors," he said in letter to the Dublin City Councillors.

Community

He also said they plan to use the stadium for community purposes and will consider opening a museum there in the future.

Sports Minister Paschal Donohoe described it as "a very important development".

"Dalymount is an extraordinarily important location in Irish sporting history. And, it is also an essential site for the broader regeneration for the north inner city," he added.

Dalymount down through the years

1901: Dalymount Park hosted its first ever soccer match between Bohemians and Shelbourne

1957: Dalymount Park hosted Shamrock Rovers as they took on Manchester United in the European Cup

1957: Ireland v England World Cup qualifier and a now infamous late goal in the 90th minute for England thagt ended Ireland's World Cup dream

1968: There was a record attendance for the FAI Cup Final as 40,000 fans watched Shamrock Rovers take on Waterford

1972: Soccer legend Pele played in the Phibsborough stadium as his team Santos took on a League of Ireland selection

1974: Ireland v Russia. Liam Brady's debut. Don Givens scored a famous hat-trick

1984: Bohs beat Glasgow Rangers 3-2. More memorably, the game took place at the height of the Troubles. A number of travelling Rangers fans became involve in violent scenes

Also: Dalymount also played host to a number of musical legends. Bob Marley played there in 1980, while more recently - and imfamously - a Garth Brooks tribute band played a fundraising concert there last summer after the country star pulled out of his Croke Park gigs. Ozzy Osbourne's Black Sabbath played at the ground in 1983, while Sunstroke hosted the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Sonic Youth amongst others during the 1990s.

Emma Jane Hade

Irish Independent

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