Bray plan for Carlisle Grounds exit runs in to opposition
Bray Wanderers have confirmed that their new five-year strategic plan includes a move away from the Carlisle Grounds and investment in a full-time playing staff from next season.
But they have met with an early setback after key transfer target Christy Fagan turned down a move to Wicklow to sign a new two-year deal with St Patrick's Athletic.
Fagan was also wanted by Shamrock Rovers, while a move to Dundalk was off the cards from an early stage because it would have affected his work commitments. The striker has opted to stay at Inchicore where he is a fans' favourite.
While Bray are expected to recruit significantly over the winter, the launch of their vision for the future has not been met with universal approval locally.
They intend to move away from the Carlisle Grounds by 2021, but that is a complicated business as the ground is owned by Wicklow County Council, with Bray holding a long-term lease.
Bray want to speak with the local authority about identifying a new greenfield site in the region and then discuss what might happen to the Carlisle Grounds, with development on the cards.
Sinn Fein TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has expressed concern under several headings.
"There are many references to South County Dublin and the fear is that there is an attempt to move the club out of Wicklow," said Brady.
"Another concern is around the publicly owned Carlisle Grounds. The lease which Bray Wanderers hold for the ground is very specifically for sporting activities. I would be totally opposed to any changes to the zoning which would allow any commercial development to take place on the site."
Any plan to take the club outside the town would be met with opposition by Bray supporters.
The increased investment in the playing staff has raised eyebrows given that Bray's plan confirms they still have debt matters outstanding.
Chairman Denis O'Connor insists that he wants to create a club for all of Wicklow and suggested that a brand new complex would suit their needs.
"The Carlisle Grounds has been a great home but it lacks practice pitches, all-weather pitches, proper changing facilities, even proper shelter for fans - and ultimately space for our teams to advance."
"This is about providing a facility for all Wicklow players - from Bray down to the borders of Wexford. It will allow us to bring in international games and players: we want to put Wicklow on the map."
Bray are planning to sign a three-year lease with Sallynoggin-based schoolboy club St Joseph's Boys - a long-term partner - for underage and training facilities in Stepaside
Meanwhile, Shelbourne fans' group Reds Independent have confirmed they will be boycotting home games until they receive answers to questions regarding their move to Dalymount Park.