Waterford FC Director of Football Pat Fenlon outlined to the media at a press briefing on Tuesday evening last some of the behind the scenes work that the club are currently working on in relation to building a sustainable future within the local community.
Speaking to WaterfordFC.ie Fenlon said, “We’re delighted to announce a two-year deal with the Department of Sport, Exercise and Science of WIT where they have giving us a great deal in relation to access to strength and conditioning to all our teams in the club from our Under 15’s right the way through to the First Team.
“It’s brilliant and it also gives us access to fitness testing which will be starting in the middle of the season through Professor John Wells and it gives us a great link with WIT. It’s something that we as a club are really looking forward to getting to work with.
“We have also started tentative talks with WIT in relation to scholarship deals further down the line. I think that they have started off quite well. We want to offer our younger players the chance of education as well as football. That’s important these days because it’s a difficult game to make a living in this country so if it doesn’t work out, there is a backup there for their education.”
Fenlon also revealed that the club are actively looking for a Football Community Officer and that the club are keen to get working in the community and hope to set up a Junior Blues Academy.
“The appointment of a Football Community Officer is something that we’re looking at as we speak. I’ve spoken to one or two people in the area in relation to it. There is a lot of stuff going on outside the professional side of things and not just what happens on a Friday night so that will allow us to offer something back into the local community.
“We have a lot of local players involved in the First Team and a lot of young lads with our underage teams so we have to try give something back into the community. We want to let people know that we’re willing to work in the community and that we’re not just here on a Friday night. We want to engross the club within Waterford City and County to make sure that we’re giving something back to it.”
“We want to be able to offer our facilities and training to younger players and we’re looking to set up a Junior Blues Academy. It’s important for the club that we can bring something to the table for younger players in the area.
“We’re obviously mindful that there is a lot of good Schoolboy and Junior clubs in the area that we want to have a good working relationship with. It’s in the early days at the moment but we have started the discussions in relation to that so we’ll see how that developments over the next couple of months.”
The Director of Football was also keen to point out the importance of sponsorship and the support of the Waterford public in bringing the club forward.
“We’ve got a budget here at Waterford and we need to stick rigidly to that. We’re trying to get a team on the pitch that is challenging for promotion. There are some good teams in the league and as people can see it’s fairly tight and competitive at the top.
“We have a budget and we have a structure. We obviously want to try get promoted and that’s the aim but in doing so we need the public to support us. The crowds have been fantastic and we don’t want that to drop off. We want that to really push on.
“It’s important that we get as many people in here on a Friday night to support the team because at the end of the day, the team is the city and county. People should be part of it. We want the people of Waterford and the club to embrace each other.
“I think that everyone has spoken about the buzz that’s back in relation to football here in Waterford so it’s important that people realise that we try maintain that. It’s up to the players, management, board, staff and supporters to do their duty to Waterford stays at the top end of the table.”