BRIAN SHELLEY fears for the long-term financial implications of Bohemians’ sorry Champions League exit on Tuesday night.
The Irish champions are still trying to come to terms with the humiliating 4-0 thrashing against The New Saints in arguably the worst result in their 40-year history of European competition.
With the inquest into the debacle now begun, missing out on a glamour tie with Belgian giants Anderlecht and a €500,000 cash windfall is now starting to hit home.
And for Bohemians defender Shelley, who dubbed the result in Oswestry as the lowest moment of his career, it left him fearing the worst for the Dubliners’ future.
“Any player sitting in that dressing room before the game who thought we didn’t have to win this game for financial reasons was fooling themselves,” admitted Shelley.
“We all knew going into the game that we needed it — to what extent I don’t really know.
“But we know financially that it’s going to have a big impact on us, for the rest of the season and the seasons ahead.
“It was the most disappointing night I’ve ever had in my career and I’ve been relegated once or twice. I think too many took it for granted.
“From the start they out-muscled us and bullied us. But they haven’t started their season yet and we’re mid flow — there are no excuses.
“Over the last couple of years Irish clubs have made progress, but this is a kick in the teeth for the whole league.”
A nightmare evening saw Bohemians’ one-goal lead from the first leg quickly wiped out after three-goal burst all but ended the second round qualifying tie with barely 20 minutes played.
To make matters worse, Bohs’ large travelling support targeted boss Pat Fenlon and his shell-shocked players as TNS advanced in Europe for the first time in 14 years.
“We will probably never get another chance like that again,” admitted Shelley.
“It was the first time in a long time that a League of Ireland team goes away from home and are the favourites to go through. Maybe that’s where the problem was.
“We’ve just let Pat and the staff down big time. It was one of the worst second halves I’ve ever been involved in.
“It was hard as you are trying not to notice them (the fans) but I was getting it in the ear by numerous fans. It was like a home game for us with all the Bohs fans who went out of their way to come to Wales and support us. We let them down.”
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