Council ‘surprised’ as Bray Wanderers chairman reveals ambitious plans

In an astonishing statement posted on their website, Bray Wanderers chairman Gerry Mulvey claimed that the club’s immediate future is secure as well as announcing that they are in negotiations to leave the Carlisle Grounds and purchase a new ground.

However, expressing surprise at the statement, Wicklow County Council subsequently said that it has had no discussion with Bray Wanderers about the redevelopment of the Carlisle Grounds. And, as of yesterday, it’s understood that some Bray players were still seeking evidence that their contracts would continue to be honoured at the club.

But what really sent social media into overdrive was some of the content of the original Bray statement, including the chairman’s reference to Wicklow County as “the North Korea of Ireland for business”, his claim that the rezoning of the Carlisle Grounds would fund an academy, based on the Barcelona and Man Utd models, to “rival the best in the world” and, by way of conclusion, a quote from Ghanaian writer Ernest Agyemang Yeboah, aimed at what Mulvey dubbed “naysayers”, which included the line:

“One must always cross the barrier of fear to get to the great city of true purposefulness.”

The statement began: “Bray Wanderers FC can now officially confirm the club is financially stable for the foreseeable future and have a vision for the future unrivalled by any other Football Club in Ireland.”

It went on: “We are going to give Wicklow and Ireland something to be proud of…Our vision and, rest assured we will execute the delivery of our vision, is a world-class football academy to rival the best in the world.

“To achieve this, yes, we are going to and are in preliminary negotiations to buy a new ground, and will be seeking from Wicklow County Council the rezoning of the land in The Carlisle Grounds with the development proceeds used to fund the construction of what will be the best Academy and sporting grounds in the country… “Eventually…we will hand the facility and sustainable business over to a trust who will protect the club and the development of Football in Wicklow & Ireland long after our collective lifetimes.”

In a response, Wicklow County Council said it was “surprised” by the club’s statement while rejecting any suggestion that “the county is anything other than an excellent place to do business.” They also said: “As landlord of the Carlisle Grounds, Wicklow County Council has not been approached or had any discussion with Bray Wanderers with regard to development of the Carlisle Grounds.

“The Carlisle Grounds are zoned recreational and it is a function of the elected members of Wicklow County Council to amend zoning.”


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