Thursday 22 August 2019

Bass aiming to make Cabinteely 'the biggest soccer brand in Ireland'

Pat Devlin
Pat Devlin
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

In his day job as the CEO of Shinawil Productions, Larry Bass is currently immersed in the business of crafting RTE's version of 'Dancing with the Stars'.

But his sideline passion is the mission to bring Cabinteely FC to centre stage. As chairman, he plans to make the South Dublin club "the biggest soccer brand in Ireland".

That's quite a statement, and Bass acknowledged that the First Division club have a road to travel to achieve that ambition.

They don't necessarily know where that road will take them, either. The board have a lot of ideas but they are dependent on interest and support from local authorities and developers.

As a starting point, they have appointed Pat Devlin as their new director of football and first-team manager on a three-year deal. And, two years after joining the league as an amateur club, they will sign part-time professionals on a small budget.

Devlin (63) spent the past two years as director of football at UCD.

Cabinteely had a reason for choosing Dún Laoghaire as the venue for the announcement - they want Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council to come on board with their plans

"It's the only local authority in Ireland that doesn't have a sports stadium," said Bass. "This isn't a flight of fancy and something that is just here today and gone tomorrow.

"We're looking to see Cabinteely as the bastion of football in the future. We have nearly 60 teams playing in the top tier of every available league at all levels.

"Our ambition doesn't stop with potentially competing for and winning the First Division. We want to be the biggest soccer brand in Ireland.

"Look what Dundalk has done. I think Ireland needs to wake up to the fact that Irish teams can compete."

It is fair to say that Bass is open-minded on their plans as the club expands from a base that is rooted in all levels of football. He floated groundsharing with UCD or even Bray. A tweak of the name or club colours to break further into the Dún Laoghaire area was not ruled out, either, while a redevelopment of Stradbook, where they currently pay rent to use Blackrock rugby's facilities, was also mentioned.

Bass would like to see all sports coming together - like is happening for the 2023 Rugby World Cup bid.

He is an advocate of the GAA opening up their stadiums for wider use and would be delighted to speak to their Cuala neighbours.

"I'm a firm believer that all clubs in a small country like Ireland need to share resources and we want to lead the field.

"It's madness to build stadiums for one team to play every second week for a number of months of year.

"Ireland has been well served by the GAA but in terms of what the GAA has put in place in terms of facilities ... most of them are sitting idle for most of the year. That type of investment in facilities has to stop."

Bass says that the first two years at senior level have been a rollercoaster ride and Devlin is tasked with steering the club in the right way.

He will source managers for their U-19 and U-17 sides and admits that Cabinteely need to compete for top players in the area instead of losing them to better known nurseries. With that in mind, they are planning to appoint an academy director.

"We're going to have the most dynamic academy in Ireland over the next few years," asserted Bass. "Shamrock Rovers got there ahead of us in terms of setting one up but what we already have is teams there to fill it."

Irish Independent

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