SSE Airtricity League reporter and Dundalk supporter Ciaran Callan looks at the values and uniqueness around the SSE Airtricity League... When you are are on social media many SSE Airtricity League fans will see the hashtag trending #GreatestLeaguei
SSE Airtricity League reporter and Dundalk supporter Ciaran Callan looks at the values and uniqueness around the SSE Airtricity League...
When you are are on social media many SSE Airtricity League fans will see the hashtag trending #GreatestLeagueintheWorld. It’s usually to highlight some sort of moment of comical relief or ridicule that could only happen at League of Ireland clubs.
Some highlights of this include the somewhat grief stricken substitute who was locked in the changing rooms at a game until half time, Pat Sullivan appearing unawares his team were playing one night and made an apparent ‘mad dash’ to Longford, or the many humorous moments that can only exist at SSE Airtricity League clubs around the country. It appears the “Only in Ireland” manta is well and truly alive with the comedic value that we get some weeks. It is also there to highlight any serious issues that may exist in League of Ireland clubs, it has became the leagues calling card and to be honest, I think its something we need to embrace.
How many other leagues around the world have such a country wide community based ethos as the SSE Airtricity League? Sure, we have our rivals and our battles on the pitch but away from the field the fans have a mutual respect of supporting their local club. While thousands have flown the skies last year to see English teams every week we have stuck with our own. That I believe is a precious commodity in this modern age. The #GreatestLeagueintheWorld has brought us together and united us in a common bond.
We live in a world where football superstars are untouchable and out of reach to the common fan.
Last night I spoke to two recently capped Irish Internationals, I also spoke to the star of a rival club, shook hands with two opposition managers and asked a player who had left us “did he miss me?”. Where in the modern world of top flight football could a common fan do that?
The fact you are personally recognised and appreciated for what you have contributed to the League of Ireland.
This is what is unique to this league and it needs to be embraced, the fans are the bedrock of any club, the volunteers, the support staff, they all make a club and that has never been forgotten by anyone. Up and down the country this kind of connection happens on a weekly basis and it should never change, its what makes the SSE Airtricity League special.
When players depart our clubs and move to England or abroad there is always a special place for them at clubs in the SSE Airtricity League. We saw them play in the flesh, spoke to them, see them develop and celebrated with them. The fact we are now seeing so many internationals are alumni of the SSE Airtricity League shows how far we as a League is coming in relation to developing players for the better and for the future, its now an realistic option for young professional. They will get an education, stay at home, play top flight and if lucky some European football, how is that not better for a player than an academy?
The SSE Airtricity League is about the people who have made it worthwhile going. The players of our clubs, the characters and fans who stand out of the crowd, the managers moments on the touchline, the moments of glory. All of them have united us together in a common and unique bond, we have been punching above our weight for so long, we are untied it our triumph and collective in our falls. We are #GreatestLeagueintheWorld because its ours, we need to embrace it, enjoy the fun but don’t let anyone belittle it or ridicule it.