Another month, another International break.
The moaning has already started and as a Liverpool fan I’m counting down the days until Liverpool lock horns with Manchester United at Anfield on October 17th.
For some it’s going to be two long weeks with no football but for me it’s OK, because I have the pleasure of going up to the Showgrounds to watch my beloved Sligo Rovers in action over the next two weeks.
As a League of Ireland fan I get to follow football twelve months of the year. For those of you who don’t know, the League of Ireland starts in March and finishes in November so while the Premier League is on its summer break, I’m shouting and roaring in the Showgrounds.
I regularly try and get those who follow me on Twitter to get an interest on my league.
We’re not as bad as some make out and if you want proof just follow the antics of Dundalk in this seasons Europa League.
They’re creating a feel good factor around the league and uniting fans across the league with every European game they play.
So why should you the reader choose to adopt a team in the League of Ireland well;
- It is the #GreatestLeagueInTheWorld and if you don’t believe me have a look at the hashtag on Twitter.
- You get to follow a team all year long, and get to live the highs and lows of football while the Premier League is off.
- It gives you, the fan, a reason to visit this country of mine and experience a live league game and all it involves.
If you do follow a League of Ireland club and come over for a game you’ll find the hospitality of the clubs amazing.
Just ask Jacopo Ghirardon. For those of you who don’t know him—and I’m sure a lot of you don’t—he is a young Italian lad who, while playing Football Manager, managed Dundalk FC.
He fell in love with the club and has made a lot of friends because of his love of Dundalk. He has attended Oriel Park and was treated like a VIP when he came over.
Meeting the players, getting autographs and having a complete ball at the matches he has attended. He’s even gone so far as to follow them around Europe.
And the treatment of Jacopo isn’t unusual for the League of Ireland clubs.
Last season a group of Omani students attended the Showgrounds and like Jacopo got the special treatment from Sligo Rovers.
Can you imagine Liverpool, Chelsea or Manchester United doing that for a fan from another country? I highly doubt it.
Unlike the Premier League, fans have the chance to get up close and personal with their heroes, and the players have no problem posing for photos or spending time chatting with the fans.
League of Ireland managers also are very approachable as I witnessed a few weeks back.
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny was at the Showgrounds for a game watching Finn Harps who his team were playing the next week, as he left the ground he was swamped by fans and had no problem talking to them or taking photos with them. Again, this is something that you wouldn’t necessarily see in the Premier League.
If I’ve managed to convince you to adopt a League of Ireland team then I suggest adopting Sligo Rovers. Don’t listen to what those jackens in Tallaght say, we are the original Rovers and everyone wants to be like us.
We have a good young team at the minute and have a hungry manager in ex Peterborough boss Dave Robertson managing us.
He’s managed to turn a side who were in the relegation zone last season to a team that came so close to a European spot next season.
We have the best facilities in the league by a country mile and have hosted many U-21 internationals at the Showgrounds, with Nice player Mario Ballotelli gracing our hallowed turf.
So if you’re looking for that football rush over the international break,have a look at the League of Ireland you never know, you might just fall in love with a club like Jacopo did and start a new love affair with football.