Waterford FC owner Lee Power has spoken of his “delight” that the dream of leading the Blues back to the Promised Land was achieved after the SSE Airtricity League First Division Trophy was presented in front of the main stand at the RSC on Friday night last, 24 hours before the club added the Mark Farren U-17 Cup at the same venue on an amazing weekend for Blues fans.
Addressing the crowd at the final whistle, Power was proud as punch. “We’re naturally delighted that the lads got the job done and it’s great to be celebrating in front of a big crowd here tonight so thank you for that.
“We put the right people in charge from the outset. Alan Reynolds did a superb job with the players and Pat Fenlon did a remarkable job in his role. Both have been magnificent. It has been a wonderful season but we still need the business community of Waterford to row in with us.
“I have said that from the moment I came here and that fact will be vital next season. The players, the coaching staff and the fans have all done their bit now it’s time the business community came on board. Having said that the club is in good shape and I want us to chase down one of those European spots next season.
“I have always set the bar high and that’s the next target for Waterford FC but for now, I want to thank the players, management and most importantly you the supporters for playing your part in this success but this is only the beginning for this club.”
As the Blues players celebrated the trophy presentation on the podium, Waterford FC coach Alan Reynolds took time to reflect on the night. “I’m the proudest man in this stadium tonight but isn’t this what it’s about. The place is rocking and I’m loving it. I am delighted that this club will be playing Premier League football next season – back where we belong.
“When you go back to this time last year they were about 150 people here watching the team play and just look around now and see how many are here and hopefully there will be a lot more next season. This club deserves to be in the Premier League and that is where we intend to stay.
“The supporters can now look forward to going to places like Turners Cross, Oriel Park, Dalymount Park and so on and they can also look forward to teams like Cork City, Dundalk and Bohemians coming here. The supporters have been fantastic all season.
“They certainly played their part so let’s all move on together nest year. We did hit a few bumps along the way during the past nine months but everyone pulled together and it has been all worthwhile. I’m delighted for the players because they have answered every call.”
Goalscorer on the night, Davy McDaid said, “This is great and it’s what we’ve all trained for so hard all season. I was looking around before we received our medals and I said to one of the lads isn’t this incredible. What supporters this club has got.
“They have been crying out for something like this for a very long time and now their wishes have been fulfilled. The players have been great all season despite injuries and suspensions and so on and we also unearthed some wonderful talent like John Martin.
“I was delighted to score on a night like this but it’s about the entire squad and that’s how is has been all season. The club will be fine in the Premier League because when you have people like Alan, Pat and Lee at the helm they will do the right thing and the future is bright for this club.”
THE LOCAL ANGLE
After moving on loan from Dundalk, Waterford FC defender Paddy Barrett said, “I have won a lot of leagues and trophies with other clubs but this is as good as any of those because this is my hometown club. I came back from Dundalk to help the club and I would like to think I have done that.
“We have some great local lads in the squad and I genuinely Waterford FC are back where they belong. They have been in the First Division way to long and now they are back and will be prepared to mix it with the big boys next year.
“Since I came back I have been amazed with the fans who have travelled all over the country with us and they will be a huge addition to the Premier League next season. Tonight is a special one and we’ll celebrate because as a football city, we have been starved of success for so long.”
The final word after a remarkable night was left to lifelong kitman Michael Walsh. “I’m very proud to be involved with this group of players and with Pat, Rennie, Frosty and Lee Power. If someone told me this time last year that we would have a night like this I would have told them they were mad.
“I have been with the club for 52 years and this rates right up there with the great days of the past. I even got a medal tonight which is amazing and so unexpected. Roll on next season because the Blues are on the rise once again and I’m delighted to play a part.”