When quizzed about their commitment to Ballyclare Comrades, players generally agree that ‘it’s a great wee club’, and chairman Trevor McCann is keen to sell it to the wider public.
“We have a great product in Ballyclare,” he told the Times, “but like most clubs we suffer from lack of support, and I take this opportunity to appeal to football fans in the area to come to Dixon Park to see what we have to offer.
“We have one of the best grounds in Championship 1, with covered seating accommodation for over 600 people. Planning permission has been obtained for the installation of an artificial pitch and new floodlighting. And with a new manager David Dorrian in place, we are aiming for a return to the Premiership.”
Mr McCann also spoke of the club’s sound financial position with the Comrades being one of only two in the division to own their grounds (Bangor is the other).
“We own Dixon Park and we are one of the few clubs that have been granted a licence that would enable us to advance to the Premiership, so we are on the up and up, but we could do with more support.
“Our AGM is scheduled to be held on Tuesday, June 9 (8pm) in the Bob Girvan Boardroom and I extend a personal invitation to anyone with an interest in the Comrades to come along and join us on that occasion.
“A visit would not carry any commitment whatsoever; it would be an opportunity to inspect our facilities and to meet the personnel involved in the running of the club, and to hear about our plans for the future.”
Team captain Adam McCart speaks for his team-mates when he says that Ballyclare Comrades is a very homely club and he is happy to be a part of it, despite the opportunity to go elsewhere.
Currently the club has four teams in operation at weekends – the senior side, the Reserves, who recently completed a hat-trick of Ballymena Junior League Division 1 titles, the Under-19s and the Under-17s. But, in conjunction with Ballyclare Colts, which produced Manchester United’s Paddy McNair, they are involved in nurturing the soccer skills of children from five years upwards.
“These young people are the backbone of the club,” said Mr McCann, “and I look forward to having scores of them playing on our new artificial surface on Saturday mornings.
“It’s all go at Dixon Park so come along, without commitment, on Tuesday evening, and perhaps you might be inspired to join us,” he enthused.
Meanwhile fans will be delighted to know that popular midfielder Samuel McIlveen, who has been on loan from Glenavon, has opted to remain at Dixon Park for another season instead of returning to the parent club.