How it all began – Club History
The Republic of Ireland Soccer Supporters Club (London) was founded in the summer of 1984, by Gerry Lappin from Longford. Its inaugural meeting was held at the Prince of Wales Feather Public House in Warren Street, Central London. Prior to its foundation, the founding members would often meet each other at international matches, having had to arrange their own tickets and travel, hence the formation of the club was a logical progression.
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The Club is run on non-political and non-sectarian lines, with the objective to provide a focus and forum for supporters of Irish football, at all levels, from the grassroots to the senior international team. We are officially recognised by the Football Association of Ireland and are affiliated with the supporters club in Dublin. We have been a member of the National Federation of Football Supporters Clubs in the UK and the Association of Provincial Football Supporters Clubs in London (APFSCIL). Our club teams have historically taken an active part in APFSCIL competitions and over the years have had great success in football, pool and dart competitions. Since 2013 we are a member of C.R.I.S.C. The Confederation of Republic of Ireland Supporters Clubs, est. 2013, officially recognised by the F.A.I.
Club members are very proud to be associated with the Republic of Ireland Supporters who were awarded the accolade of best-behaved supporters in Europe, in a vote conducted by European soccer magazines during 1996. Currently, the club has a membership of over 550. It is particularly pleasing that many members who have returned home or moved on from London, continue to support the club and maintain their membership.
Support and Travel
We work in conjunction with the Football Association of Ireland in the allocation of tickets to members for all home and away matches. Currently we hold a number of Block Booking Tickets for all home games in the Aviva Stadium and make a very significant application for every away game. Club trips are sometimes arranged for certain away games, in particular the more challenging locations. Match day transport facilities are also provided in appropriate circumstances.
For the 2002 World Cup finals in Japan and Korea, about 100 club members travelled, including 30 on a club organised trip. For the Euro 2004 qualifying tournament, almost 100 members travelled to Russia, 35 on the trip to Georgia and Albania and despite a shortage of match tickets about 100 travelled to Basle for the final game. In the summer of 2004, we were a major supporter of Ireland’s games in the Unity Cup tournament played in London, selling over 500 tickets. Two days after the last game in that tournament over 110 club members travelled to Amsterdam for the friendly game against Holland.
For the 2006 World Cup qualifying game in Paris in October 2004, over 200 members travelled with 70 of those travelling on the official club trip. The Easter weekend of 2005, saw 75 members descend on Tel Aviv for the World Cup qualifier against Israel. In common with other supporter groups, inclement weather conditions created havoc for many of our members who embarked on the trip to the Faroe Islands. Despite the travel travails, an intrepid 45 still made it to Torshavn. The closing stages of our qualifying campaign witnessed some 190 club members giving their all for team and country in Cyprus. During the current EURO 2008 campagn, a very significant number of club members embarked on trips to Germany, Cyprus, San Marino and of course the double header in Bratislava and Prague.
One of the primary club activities is raising money for charity. Over the years this has included helping sponsor the Irish Deaf Soccer team on their trips to successive World Deaf Soccer Cup Finals and supporting the Share a Dream Foundation. With the support of Gary Kelly, who donated a signed team shirt to raffle, club members donated generously to the benefit fund for the Leeds United supporters who tragically lost their lives in Turkey some seasons ago.
We have also supported Children’s Liver Disease Ireland, Leukaemia Research, the International Myeloma Foundation, the Friends of Michael Sobell House, Teenage Cancer Trust, the National Council for the Blind in Ireland, The Alex Curtis Memorial Trust, Aisling – Return to Ireland Project, The John Giles Foundation, Beating Bowel Cancer and WONS Orphanage in the Chunga district of Zambia.. In recent years, we have raised funds in support of St. Luke’s Hospice, Kenton, Middlesex, in the memory of our late chairman, Tony Booth, who passed away there in January 2002, after a long illness.
We are proud to have been a major contributor to the benefit fund, organised in 2002 by our colleagues in Birmingham, for ex-Ireland international David Langan, whose injuries sustained during his football career have resulted in disability. In 2004, we raised funds for Temple Street Hospital in Dublin, with one of our members running in the Dublin Marathon and with raffle proceeds from our anniversary Dinner Dance. Cricklewood Homeless Concern has also been the benificiary of a donation from the Club. Many other charitable causes have been supported and are listed below and in the club charity quiz archive here.
Club Sponsorship – St Kevin’s Boys 2000 -2008
The club also actively supports the development of soccer talent in Ireland. In September 2000 we entered into what was initially a two-year arrangement with St. Kevin’s Boys Club, one of the leading schoolboy and youth football clubs in Dublin. We sponsored two Under 8 schoolboy teams in the Dublin and District Schoolboys League. After league success in their first season, the teams progressed to Under 9 competitions where they were winners and runners-up in their respective leagues and had the unique honour of being the first teams from the same club to face each other in the DDSL Under 9A Cup Final.
In recognition of this success, we agreed to continue sponsorship for a further two years and it was pleasing to see the boys have another great season taking league and cup honours at Under 10 level. In their first year in eleven-a-side competition, the team confirmed their status as the best of their age group in Dublin by winning the Under 11 Premier Division of the DDSL and the Under 11 Cup.
The sponsorship arrangement was continued for the 2004/2005 season and again the boys did themselves proud by finishing league runners-up and winning both the DDSL Under 12 Cup and the SFAI Norton Cup. We agreed to maintain sponsorship of the St Kevins Boys team, and in the 2005/2006 season, the Boys completed the double of Under 13 Premier Division title and the SFAI Troy Cup while the 2006/2007 season saw the Boys collect both the DDSL Thunder Cup and the SFAI Goodson Cup while finishing runners-up in the Under 14 Premier Division of the DDSL.
The 2007/2008 season, at Under 15 level, was the swansong of this particular group of players as a group. The team lifted the DDSL League Title together with the SFAI Evans Cup, the fourth successive season that the National Cup competition was won by St Kevin’s Boys. Seven of the boys have now left the team and taken the first steps on the journey which leads to a career in professional football by joining senior football clubs throughout England and Scotland. We wish all of the boys, with whom we have been associated over the past eight years, the very best in their future careers and lives.
It is now some five years since those aspiring teenagers embarked on their challenging journey into the world of professional football. It is with considerable pride and delight that we have recently witnessed two of those hopefuls, Robbie Brady and Jeff Hendrick, having successfully progressed through the underage ranks, pull on the green shirt of Ireland at senior international level. Another from the class of ‘2008’, Cian Bolger also made his U21 Ireland debut against Holland during March 2013.
RISSC (London) reached its 20th anniversary during 2004 and this special occasion was celebrated at a Dinner Dance held at the Irish Centre in Camden Town on 25 September, at which the guests of honour were, then National Team Manager, Brian Kerr, his assistant Chris Hughton and club founder, Gerry Lappin. The Irish Government was also represented on the evening.
In October 2009 the Club celebrated its 25th Anniversary and the event was marked with a Celebration Dinner at the Crown Moran Hotel in Cricklewood. The Club was delighted to welcome His Excellency, Bobby McDonagh, the Irish Ambassador to the UK together with his wife Mary. The Ambassador was also joined on the evening by John Delaney, Chief Executive of the Football Association of Ireland and former iconic international footballers Liam Brady, our own Honorary President, together with Ray Houghton who currently performs an ambassadorial role for the FAI.
RISSC (London) celebrated its 30th Anniversary with a Special Dinner Dance held at the Crown Moran Hotel, Cricklewood, London NW2 on Saturday the 27th September 2014.
During 2005, we were pleased to welcome Vincent Butler, a long time club member and former Ireland Under 15 and Under 16 Manager, as a meeting guest. The Charlton Athletic, Education and Welfare Officer, Philip Gallagher was also a very welcome guest as indeed was top soccer columnist Gerry McDermott, who has subsequently become head of communications at the FAI. Each of those visitors provided attending members with an insightful analysis of their respective roles within the soccer community.
The former international player and team manager, Eoin Hand who is now Career Guidance Officer with the FAI and soccer analyst with RTE, was the special guest at the February 2006 meeting of the club. In March 2006, the club was honoured by the attendance of the Chief Executive Officer of the FAI, John Delaney who was accompanied by Director of Corporate Affairs, Pat Costello and Honorary Secretary, Michael Cody.
The surprise attendance of then international team manager Stephen Staunton at the March 2006 meeting was a magnificent gesture which will always be greatly appreciated by all connected with the club.
We were delighted to welcome former FAI Technical Director and goalkeeping legend Packie Bonner together with then Assistant Technical Director Richard Fahy to our June 2007 meeting. Packie and Richard provided the audience with an informative and instructive analysis of developments within all strands of Irish football.
Former Cork City and Shamrock Rovers goalkeeper Noel Mooney, now Club Promotions Director with the FAI, provided members with a compelling view of the League of Ireland, its revised structure and future aims at our December 2007 meeting while UEFA referee Alan Kelly provided a vivid illustration of ‘life in the middle’ when he joined members at our gathering in January 2008.
The inimitable Paddy Mulligan, recipient of the ‘Hall of Fame’ award at the 2009 International Awards Ceremony, was our guest in February 2008 and enthralled members with his tales of days gone by and his vision of the future. Our August 2008 meeting was graced by the presence of Don Givens, former manager of our Under 21 International team and a goalscoring icon from an earlier era.
In December 2009, we were delighted to welcome former International and iconic Stoke City winger Terry Conroy as our guest. Terry is of course now our UK Welfare Officer and his analysis of this crucial role together with tales of days gone by were received with rapt attention.
FAI High Performance Director Wim Koevermans, a member of the Dutch squad which Ireland faced in our first ever European Championship Finals in Germany 1988, was the special guest at our AGM held on 30 July 2010.
The Club was delighted to welcome Under 21 Head Coach Noel King to our meeting on the 31st August 2012 and once again attendees were provided with a riveting insight into the management and progress of our Under 21 side and of course our Under 17 Women who reached the 2010 European Championship Final with ‘Kinger’ at the helm.
November 2012 saw another well attended meeting receive enlightenment from our own Gerry Reardon in relation to his role as Regional Manager with the FAI in Dublin, together with an insightful presentation from Niall Harrison, our Under 15 Head Coach and National Co-Ordinator for the EmergingTalent Programme.
The calendar year of 2013 was another busy, exciting and informative period, with the March visit of Dave Langan and Paul ‘Ski’ McGee, two heroes of an earlier time, followed by an interesting May evening with a journalistic panel comprising Dion Fanning (Sunday Independent), Emmet Malone (Irish Times), Paul Rowan (Sunday Times) and Rob Brennan (Irish Post). We were delighed to welcome Liam George, goalscoring hero of our 1998 European U18 Championship success, to our July meeting and thoroughly enjoyed the August visit of Brian Kerr, the man behind our underage glory, together with Shaun Byrne, his U16 captain from our first ever European championship succes in May 1998.
One of the highlights of 2014 was our Ninth Annual Charity Quiz which took place on Friday the 31st January 2014. Our special guest on the night was Irish football legend John Giles, the patron of our nominated charity for the current club year ‘The John Giles Foundation’. House full notices were required as the Sala Room at the Crown Moran Hotel was bursting at the seams. The maestro himself was performance and personality personified. Who the hell needs Springsteen?
The Club’s nominated charity for the year ending 30 June 2015 was ” Down Syndrome Ireland” and we are delighted that, through the support of our members and friends, we were able to present a cheque for €4,000 to esteemed Patron Kevin Kilbane and charity Chief Executive Pat Clarke following our Annual Charity Quiz, which took place on Friday 23 January 2015.
The 2017 Quiz had Stephen Hunt in attendance and the event proved another resounding success and we are delighted to have been able to present ‘Beating Bowel Cancer‘ with a cheque for £5,500, the total proceeds of the evening, together with personal contributions and other associated events.
Service to Football Award 2007
On 6 July 2007, we were honoured with a ‘Service to Football Award’ from the Football Association of Ireland. The award was presented at the FAI AGM Delegates Dinner in the Malton Hotel, Killarney, County Kerry.
Meetings and Membership
We meet regularly on pre-arranged Fridays (usually prior to a senior international fixture). Meetings are held in the Crown Moran Hotel, Cricklewood Broadway, London NW2 and start at 8.00pm. We send a monthly newsletter to all members, by post or e-mail.
If you wish to apply for membership, please complete the application form (available in Word or PDF format) and return it to the PO Box or bring it to a club meeting along with two passport size photographs and the membership fee.
A Message from the FAI
“The Football Association of Ireland is pleased to acknowledge the Republic of Ireland Soccer Supporters Club (London). The Association recognises the significant contribution made to Irish Football by the Club and its members over the past twenty years. The social role that the Club plays in the Irish community in London and throughout the South East region is applauded and the Association extends its good wishes for the continued success of the Club.”
Chief Executive Officer
Football Association of Ireland
For further information please contact:
PO Box 475
or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
© RISSC (London)