Short chat with Stephen from the supporters group, UCD AFC supporters club.
My name is Stephen and I’m secretary with the UCD AFC supporters club and we were created in 2010 just to give a bit of a structure and direction for UCD fans going to matches.
And did you attend UCD yourself as a student!
I never did, no, in my teenage years I looked at the league of Ireland senior division table, it was only one long list at the time and I thought ok well I am got to have to start supporting a Dublin team here and Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers were at the top and I thought no they were too successful for me so I looked right down and it was all names of country towns, Drogheda, Athlone, and Dundalk, and right down at the bottom was UCD and Shelbourne, and Shelbourne I thought, just in case Shelbourne are really, really bad, I better just support the team ahead of them, that’s UCD. So I started supporting UCD.
Ok, and how long ago was that?
That was in ’83, I was watching them from the paper let’s say and from radio, and I started going to matches in ’87, 1987
And what kind of crowds do you get to support UCD? Do you get any students? Do they actually bother coming down, do you get them out of the bars?
Well yeah, it can be tricky, especially on Fridays nights. First of all supporters do come, from the campus to support players who are studying in their own faculty so you will have little groups of 2’s and 3’s and that, all the time coming down, and then occasionally especially when the pressure of exams are off you’ll get more groups coming down and maybe a singing section as well, coming through in the summer.
And I want to ask about the team, is it semi-professional or is there a few professionals or is there some students or what, what is the structure?
In the recent past it’s been mostly students and then the odd players who are especially returnees who had a connection with a club and the university before so we would say we are kind of part time graduates, students and then graduates, we even have leaving cert students in our squad as well
Ok that’s pretty cool. And all those years, the best season?
Well it probably would be a premier division season, there has been little good spells, I think I’m going to say a period of time, we were 9 years in the premier division from 85 to 94 and so that was my best time supporting UCD, and I’d like to go back there. Now we do consider ourselves a premier division team even though we are in the first division this year because we spent I think only three seasons in the first division in the last 21 years, so we do consider ourselves definitely premier division, but yeah that spell of matches, there was one year in 99/2000 where we finished fourth and qualified for the InterToto cup and then we played in Bulgaria, and then the following June, that early, so June 2000 was a good time.
And the European adventure last season?
That was amazing, that’s was 4 matches in July, was incredible, especially we were granted access to the Uefa cup very late, in March through Uefa’s own fair play calculations so Ireland got a place and that was given to UCD, and just the preparations and the amount of work that the club had to put in to prepare for that, because we held two home games here at the UCD bowl and that was very special for us that people would say no, no outside of UCD and the LOI they would insist it would have to be moved but we showed we can hold them here
You did the league proud I think, for a small club really…
I agree with you, there was a bit of negativity saying why should they, they are only first division, and its UCD and they are going to embarrass us, but we won our first game against a Luxembourg team here and then we travelled away a week later and it was just an incredible emotional match in Luxembourg because the players were out on their feet by the end of it but we went through into the next round.
And what about this season so far, how do you think its panning out?
It’s slow at the moment, Limerick have set their stall out, they have won six games out of six , and they look like they will completely dominate the league, so it’s for the lesser places, 2nd of third or play off places so we will really be fighting for that but it’s not over yet for the first place but we have Limerick next week, but at the moment the signs are they will dominate the league, but we will look to get off into the play off places again and hopefully we will get up through that.
And just one or two players to look out for, we should note?
We have a centre back Maxi Kouogun, and it’s his second season here
He is very strong!
He is strong at the back, and he is scoring up front, he is our leading scorer at the minute with 4 goals and they have all come from headers from corners from Kieran Marty Waters, so Maxi as a centre back, and maybe a new player for us is Georgie Kelly, he came to us from Derry City, and he always looks lively, and hopefully he will be a good player for us this year, he is a new player.
How did you manage to get Kieran Marty Waters?
Well he would be one of the lets say part time professionals if you like rather than just graduates, I think we just gave him traction
Because he came from Shamrock Rovers, didn’t he?
He did come from Shamrock Rovers, he was having a quiet time there and he wasn’t getting much off a game, I think there was a few people ahead of him, so we just obviously gave him a package, and invited him to say what we are doing here and he was attracted to it.
So why do you think people should pop along to their LOI team?
Cause its local, you are going to meet people that you probably didn’t know, went to games from other circles in your life, you are supporting players who are playing at the top league in the country, and this is the best that is available, there is great friendliness and hospitality at ALL LOI grounds, I mean you go anywhere, and yet there is still a kind of a solidarity as well between us as well because we feel we are up against it with even other sports in the country as well as football in neighbouring countries as well. We fell there is a lot of emphasis on other football but not Irish football, so we have a solidarity there between ourselves and also then at the matches themselves you have small groups singing and chanting right through the game and there is a lot of colour and you can be part of the noise or you can sit and watch the noise.
I mean the package is ok too, I mean tonight’s game, it was good I thought, a good game
Yeah we had 4 goals in the first half
A lot of chances as well
Exactly, yeah Drogheda equalised twice, and we are a bit disappointed about that, but that’s how tough the first division is, there is about 4 teams that are all about similar standard and they are looking for two play off places.
Ok thanks, that’s grand
Ok thank you
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