Wednesday 13 November 2019

Devlin, Fenlon slam 'crazy' fixture list

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

IT'S RARE opposing managers agree on anything, but Bray Wanderers boss Pat Devlin and his Bohemians counterpart Pat Fenlon have both hit out at the "crazy" Airtricity League fixture list.

Both men's teams looked tired as Christopher Forrester rescued a point for Bohs with a late goal on Monday night, the clubs' second game in four days. The Dalymount Park crowd was down 400 from Friday night's clash with Derry City to 1,050 and Devlin reckons that's a sign of things to come with another double-header next weekend. The draw was the first of seven league games scheduled for May and with both clubs operating with small squads and small budgets, neither boss is happy.

"I find the whole thing crazy to be quite honest," Seagulls manager Devlin said.

"No one is coming and everyone is sick going to games twice a weekend and then have to travel. A lot of people are not working and those who are fortunate to be working can't get time off for midweek games, so the whole thing needs to be reassessed and looked at, if we don't we are going to ruin the game.

"What I have seen now since I've come back (to management) is absolute stone madness. It doesn't make any sense for anybody that they could go along and pile fixtures in like that and expect people to get off work or college or whatever it is and give up a half-day's pay.

"Clubs have to find money to balance that out then for clubs going down midweek, with buses and all the other expensive things like that."

Fenlon -- who is considering adding former Everton striker Aidan Downes to his squad -- agreed with his opposite number.

"I don't know what the thinking behind it is," he said. "They have been trying to send the league back to part-time, yet they are flogging fixtures on to players who just cannot hack it.

"All the squads are smaller bar one or two, and it is very, very difficult. We have used the same team against Bray and it is very difficult and we will have to give them a few days off.

"They have been in five days in a row and we are a part-time team, as such. It is a question that should be asked, 'why was it done?' Nobody seems to come out and say: 'We did it because...' You are cramming in games; I don't know if it is because clubs don't want to pay wages, but it is ludicrous stuff."

Irish Independent

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