Bohemians go into a new year with a new team working on the club’s longer-term development, writes BRIAN TRENCH. Former directors Daniel Lambert and Chris Brien aim to develop key relationships in business and in the community, while also drafting a strategic plan that will be proposed for adoption later this year.

“The directors have until very recently had to put almost all of their effort into the club’s survival, week-to-week, even day-to-day. We have not been able to address medium-term and longer-term strategy. Now that the club’s financial position has been stabilised, we can get on with that task,” said Lambert.

He has stepped down from the board, where he was marketing director and then bar director, to take up a full-time position as strategic projects manager. With degrees in business and in international law and security, he has put other career interests on hold while he gives a year to the club.

Former club president and finance director Chris Brien has taken early retirement from a position in banking and will work as a volunteer part-time assisting Lambert, in particular deepening relations with the NDSL (North Dublin Schoolboys League).

The duo share a conviction that Bohemians can become a bigger presence in the city and county, can attract more fans to home matches, and can provide an attractive pathway for the best footballers in the region from first steps in under-age football to the highest levels. They want to see Bohemians contributing much more to Dublin than a senior league team whose fortunes may rise and fall.

They are already beginning to articulate targets for the club. “By the end of the decade, said Brien, “we should have a stadium worthy of the club, a team made up of at least 75% Bohemian-grown players, and an average gate 50% higher than present levels.

“We should be building not only a first team. We should be building a club. We have to make Bohemians the team to follow in north Dublin. We have to make north Dublin red and black.”

One of the first items on their agenda is to investigate viable alternatives for Bohemians to Dalymount Park. They will do this in partnership with the local authorities and other potentially interested parties.

For the present, Bohemians can remain in Dalymount. “The ground is not likely to be sold until the sale would cover the debts to the main creditors, and that’s not likely to be for three to five years,” said Brien.

“There are other reasons why Dalymount may not be a long-term option,” said Lambert. “There are the costs of redevelopment, and issues of location, access and more. We need to assess where we would be best situated in terms of demographic trends, transport and our fan base, and work on the options with the local councils.”

Partnerships and relationships are central to what Lambert and Brien will be working on. “We want to offer more to commercial sponsors than a name on the shirt, working with us on community projects, for instance,” said Lambert.

“We need to build on the great work Tommy Hynes [club PRO] has been doing in the community. We can make Bohemians something that the whole community is proud of. The more we give to the community, the more the community will give to us, in terms of long-term relations and support.”

The link with NDSL is seen as widening the base for support as well as for recruitment of players. The scholarship scheme for Bohemian footballers entering Dublin City University will be reactivated. “Through the links with NDSL and DCU, we can imagine young footballers planning their paths in sport and education in association with Bohemians,” said Brien.

He and Lambert will seek representatives from community and sporting associations, educational institutions, local authorities, business firms and others, to join an advisory council that will give guidance on the strategic plan.

Internally, the duo will look at possible improvements in procedures, such as arrangements for match days. “In some cases, we need to document procedures, so that they are not just in one person’s head,” said Lambert.

Club president Matt Devaney welcomed the commitment Daniel Lambert and Chris Brien are making to the club. “The club depends hugely on the many different kinds of contributions that supporters make. With Daniel and Chris helping us to create a clear vision for the club, we should be able to encourage even more supporters to become volunteers in one way or another,” Devaney said.

“The board is confident that this year we will take a major step to securing Bohemians’ future by strengthening our relations with the football community and with the community in general.”

Daniel and Chris can be contacted at and respectively.

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