Bohemians score as council agrees €3.8m deal for Dalymount
THE future of Bohemian Football Club has been secured, with Dublin City Council agreeing to buy Dalymount Park for €3.8m.
Tolka Park, which is the home ground of Shelbourne FC, is not included in the deal however, as had previously been planned.
Both clubs approached the council three years ago to seek help to ensure their survival due to their "precarious" financial situation.
Now a deal is set to be signed which would see the council become sole owners of Dalymount Park, with Bohemians signing on as tenants.
A spokesperson for the club said that the agreement would "secure the future of the club".
"It's fantastic news for us, as it means that our long-term future at Dalymount Park is now secure.
"It will help us in terms of finding long-term sponsorship and it will help us to sign new players.
"Young players still want to play in Dalymount Park and Bohs might not have the same attraction without it," the spokesperson added.
It is understood that the sum will be used to clear the club's debts with Zurich Bank, with about €350,000 being diverted to Bohemians' members who are owed €700,000.
There are plans to redevelop the stadium and the council will seek government funding to pay for an upgrade as soon as possible.
A small soccer museum is also planned as part of the project.
A report presented to Dublin City Councillors at last night's monthly meeting outlined the plans for Dalymount following the signing of the contracts.
Consultation with local clubs, schools and colleges will also take place to allow the community to make use of the Phibsboro stadium as well.
Original plans for the council's acquisition of the stadium included Tolka Park, if Shelbourne FC would surrender their lease.
It was planned to build housing units on the Drumcondra site and allow Shelbourne to share Dalymount Park for home games.
DCC already owns the stadium, but developer Jerry O'Reilly owns the lease.
It is understood that complications surrounding the lease and some opposition from fans of the club scuppered the deal.
However, Shelbourne still have the option of moving to Dalymount in the future.
The chairman of Shelbourne FC, Joe Casey, said that the club were somewhat disappointed not to be involved with the project at this stage, but they had not ruled out moving to Dalymount in the future.
"From our perspective this is great for Irish football and for the local area," he said.
Mr Casey said he was confident that opposition from fans about a move to Dalymount could be overcome as the stadium looks set to be a state-of-the-art facility.
"We would also have our own identity there, that has been assured," he explained.
Lord Mayor Christy Burke welcomed the news of the imminent purchase last night.
"Dalymount will be in a safe pair of hands and I'm glad that it is going to be kept in the area," he told the Herald.
"It is a huge boost for anyone in the area with an interest in sport and particularly for the soccer world."