Saturday, July 22, 2006

Vikings at Sea

Dublin City FC, hardly the biggest draw in the decidedly unstarry firmament that is the Irish National League, folded this week "sensationally" according to one news source, leaving Irish football "in shock", according to another. It's nice to see that hyperbole in sports journalism can apply equally well to the small fry. Well, it did happen overnight and nobody, save the fools that were running the club, saw it coming. The team were having a so-so season, hardly disastrous, lying ninth in the Premier League with 15 points from 17 games. Apparently the Revenue Commissioners were taking a stronger interest than usual in the way things were being run and the Whitehall club wilted under the most cursory of scrutiny.

It is always sad to see a sporting club of any type go to the wall and also to see people out of work, but I feel less sorrow for Dublin City than I might in other cases. Because Dublin City were nothing more than a brand (and not a very good one), grafted onto the company Little Roc Ltd. (trading as Dublin City FC). They were formed in 2000, and assembled from the asset-stripped Home Farm, a team with a proud amateur heritage in Irish football, and straight away the new club hubristically identified themselves with Dublin in their name, despite being the capital's sixth team. And they were known (though only to themselves) as the Vikings, an irritating nickname concocted by some focus group no doubt, and thrust upon everyone, the way a really sad David Brent-type character might give himself a moniker and insist upon everyone calling him by it. Most clubs have been nicknamed by some terrace wag but I doubt there were too many of those at Dublin City games, or fans of any sort. Shelbourne have kindly said that they will admit Dublin City season-ticket holders to their games for the rest of the season, which is a bit like your auntie taking you away on holidays to cheer you up after been dumped by your girlfriend. All results involving DCFC this season have been expunged (not often one gets to use that word); my own team Sligo Rovers (or the "Bit o'Red" as conceived by the terrace wag all those years ago) have already taken four points off them this season, so I am not too happy. The FAI warns that other clubs might follow the Vikings into liquidation. Irish soccer, off the field at least, is rarely dull.