AS CLUBS like Chelsea and Manchester City get ready to spend eye-watering amounts of money over the summer in a bid to buy success for next season, they could do worse than put in a phone call to a man called Gary Johnson and ask him about his 'buy-Irish campaign'.
Because as Yeovil Town today celebrate the fact that their club – which was part of the non-league scene only 10 years ago – will next season be playing in the Championship, they know they owe a huge part of their success to a couple of Dubliners who were picked up in football's equivalent of the bargain bin.
Paddy Madden cost Yeovil around £20,000 (?23,000) when he moved there from Carlisle United midway through the season, following a loan spell with the Glovers.
A man who had managed just two goals in 30 games for Carlisle turned into a goal machine once he pulled on the green-and-white jersey of Yeovil, and yesterday at Wembley the former Bohemians man scored his 23rd goal for the club. It was a very important one as that brilliant strike started Yeovil off and they went on to beat Brentford 2-1 in the League One promotion play-off final.
The amount paid for Madden was a pittance, but Yeovil didn't even pay a penny for their other capture from the League of Ireland, as midfielder Kevin Dawson went there on a free transfer from Shelbourne when the 2012 LOI season finished up.
Dawson went straight into the Yeovil side in January once he was eligible to play and stayed there. And the pair of Coolock lads are two of the reasons why Yeovil will be in there with the likes of Leeds United, QPR and Reading in the Championship next season.
Madden's goal was a thing of beauty, but also a very welcome goal as the former U21 cap had failed to score in his previous six games.
"I was due a goal, maybe I was saving it for Wembley," Madden joked after Yeovil's elevation to England's second tier was secured. I am just buzzing now, to have scored and won the game is great.
"For the goal, Sam Foley played it in, I took a touch and saw the defender a few yards off me. I had space, so I had a go and it went in.
"I am over the moon now, words can't describe how this feels. We have been top notch all along, we put in the hard work over the season and we deserve this," added Madden.
Madden had hard times at Bohemians and at one point was sent down to the First Division by then manager Pat Fenlon to learn his trade.
Financial problems at Dalymount made certain that Madden had to leave and even his departure from there was not easy – the club had reportedly agreed to sell him to Celtic, but the deal fell through as Madden was not happy with the personal terms, which would have seen him accept a wage packet below what many League of Ireland players were earning at the time.
In the end, Fenlon put a call into his old pal Graham Kavanagh – on the coaching staff at Carlisle – and they took a chance on him, but the move didn't work out.
But his arrival at Yeovil – on loan at first – sparked him into life and with confidence flowing, the goals also flowed. "I always wanted to get a chance in England, it was always my dream and I finally got the chance.
"I looked up to strikers like Andy Cole and Ruud van Nistelrooy and I wanted to play at the highest level possible," said Madden, who played a part in Dawson's arrival at the club as he recommended his close pal to Yeovil boss Gary Johnson.
"It couldn't have gone better for me over here," Dawson said. "I made my debut in a cup game against Orient. I didn't think I'd play in the next league game, but the manager put me in, we beat Sheffield United 2-0 away in front of 20,000 people. I've been in the team ever since."