Bohemians – Personality greatly outweighs the aesthetics of being a model club

Let’s be honest, we’ve all been shallow at some point in our lives. We may not necessarily mean to be but sometimes we often let our eyes control us without stopping to really look that bit deeper into a person. It’s nobody’s fault. Some people are just programmed that way.

You’re on Tinder and you come across a League of Ireland logo and a Premier League logo one after the other. Which one are you more likely to swipe right on?

For the majority of people, they’ll choose the latter. Hell, they might even super like that bad boy just to get a bit of attention.

Sure, the Premier League might have the big house and the fancy car and looks to be doing pretty ok for themselves but the League of Ireland, well, the car might be on its last legs and the roof on a run down apartment complex might be leaking but at least it has a bit of character about it.

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These days, you might not associate Dublin with being a big football city given the dominance of Dublin’s success in GAA and the surge of rugby that seems to be rammed down our throats at an alarming rate.

However, if you dig a bit deeper, past the faux Dublin 4 accents and array of Premier League jerseys that get a daily outing around the city, there’s something big happening under the surface at Bohemian Football Club.

Dublin’s oldest club and indeed, the League of Ireland’s longest serving club, have been hard at work for years trying to reinvent their image with great success.

Think of it like Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality except that the plot of Bohemians is far better.

For a long time Bohs were the laughing stock of the league.

A once feared beast made to cower in fear itself after getting knocked out by TNS in the Champions League qualifiers and a failed stadium bid that almost saw the team go out of existence.

The last ten years have seen supporters drift away from Dalymount Park and very little success to entice many back since they last won the league in 2009.

To make matters worse, their arch rivals Shamrock Rovers tasted league and cup successes with a stint in the Europa League group stages to rub salt into the wounds of “The Gypsies”.

Shamrock Rovers were dubbed by the then FAI CEO John Delaney as “the model club that all clubs should aspire to be”. Imagine. The governing body of Ireland lauding over Bohemians most loathed team. It’d make you sick but it happened.

The model club were allowed to even compete with a B team in the First Division.

The beautiful model on the Southside of Dublin being laden with fancy beauty products to make herself more presentable while her Northside equivalent were handed crayons and a paintbrush.

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There’s only one way to vent frustration at your enemies and in football scores are settled on the pitch in the Dublin Derby. The coupe of fixtures every year that bring the masses back into the fold.

Brothers in arms united through their passion. Armed with f-bombs and a dozen songs repeated ad nauseam.

You have to understand that Shamrock Rovers are a professionally run outfit with full time players.

Bohemians are, in their current state, a part time amateur team.

June 29th, 2012. A pivotal date for the beginning of something remarkable for Bohemian Football Club. A beacon of hope, unity and stability after a once fraught relationship with its board and fans.

Dalymount Park, a venue with incredible history and lore surrounding it. Two dormant stands and the one stand open to home fans rammed with people.

It’s not a fashionable place but that day of all days was the birth place for something magical.

Bohemians 4-0 Shamrock Rovers. The result many thought they’d get stuffed by. The result nobody could have envisaged. The result that put the Bohs into the forefront of people’s minds.

I’m not going to tell you a lie and say it was all rosy from here on out. It was certainly rocky and turbulent with a final day push to stave off relegation in the following years.

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However, that 4-0 victory over Rovers still gave people hope to cling onto that fortunes would change for the club and that perhaps the once famed “model club” were losing their looks just a bit.

There were rocky roads still ahead for “the big club” though when Owen Heary left the club after a solid season at the helm.

It was hard to know how would take over next especially with the constraints of having the lowest budget in the league by a considerable distance.

Fortunes don’t always come in the form of money but when the board announced Keith Long as manager, it was like striking gold.

Unbeaten against Shamrock Rovers since 2017, still operating on the lowest budget in the league with a host of new players coming in every single year, playing attractive football, multiple sell outs for home games and currently in a Europa League position this season.

It has been a remarkable turn around with the exceptional hard work of volunteers and air of defiance that despite its flaws and scars, Bohemian Football Club is becoming an attractive place to go and watch some football.

Shamrock Rovers might look like a gorgeous Instagram model on the surface but give me the wild personality of Bohemians any day.

The Author

Shane Saunders

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