Bray Wanderers owners Niall and Tim O’Driscoll are delighted to celebrate the 1-year anniversary since they took control of the north Wicklow club in a year which has seen a lot of positive changes at the club since then.
Amidst a period of much upheaval both on and off the pitch for the club, in August 2018 the O’Driscolls bought the majority interest of the club’s shareholding and have overseen a great turnaround at the club which has seen the club grow and expand on many fronts from where it stood 12 months ago.
On the pitch a new management team was brought in for the Senior team as well as the introduction of a new football strategy for all of the club’s teams who now all train together in the Academy grounds in Carrickmines. This has seen nine underage players make their first team debut to date as well as a strengthening of the Academy’s teams, coaching personnel and overall structure. The first team squad now boasts one of the youngest average ages in the league as they seek to gain promotion back to the Premier Division. The future will be about giving these young players the opportunity to play for Bray or further afield in their journey as young footballers.
Off the pitch there has been a major overhaul of the structures of the club with a supporter and volunteer-led focus as the club also reaches out to a much wider network of stakeholders in the Bray area and beyond. Attendances are up over 300% despite the club’s relegation to the First Division with a large focus on attracting families and children to matches which has been hugely successful. The club’s legacy debts and issues have been cleared with a financially sustainable model now introduced to secure the long-term future of the club.
Amongst the highlights of the past year has seen the club launch a number of community-based initiatives to engage beyond the club’s traditional footballing circles such as Sunday fitness sessions, a Disability Access Officer working with the community and engagement with the local and partner clubs. The club also successfully hosted four fixtures of the UEFA Under 19 European Championships which saw over 8,000 spectators flock to the ground during the tournament. We have also had free kids’ football camps and Family Fun Days which all add to developing Bray into ‘Ireland’s Best Family Club’.
Speaking on the club’s anniversary Chairman Niall O’Driscoll said “Myself and Tim have thoroughly enjoyed the journey which the club has gone on over the past year and are excited for what lies ahead for the club.
“A huge amount of that credit goes to the very professional volunteers involved in the club who have been paramount in rebuilding this great club. The goodwill shown from the local community and local businesses towards the club continues to grow every day and there is now a real feel-good factor around the club going forward.
“We’ve enjoyed every moment of the past 12 months and I call on everyone who loves our Town, County, and Club to play their part and join us in whatever way you can on this exciting journey.”