On Tuesday the 18th of November, the United States faced off against the Republic of Ireland in the Aviva Stadium for an international friendly. As an avid football fan, I had been anticipating this match for weeks and could not wait to see American stars like Kyle Beckerman and Jozy Altidore, not to mention the plethora of high-quality Irish players like Shane Long, Aiden McGeady, and the star of the night: Robbie Brady. The game itself didn’t turn out well for US fans, but I enjoyed myself none the less.
What I really wanted to talk about regarding the game was the protest put on by the Irish fan group known as “You Boys in Green” that happened during the match. They usually sit in the South Stand Lower section of the Aviva Stadium for Ireland matches, which just happened to be where our seats were that night. The only thing different about this match was that there was a peaceful protest planned against John Delaney, the Chief Executive of the Football Association of Ireland. Many fans have been complaining about the FAI’s policies on tickets like the refusal to implement a transparent system that would give regular fans access to more tickets. Also, many regular away fans were refused tickets to the match versus Scotland over the past weekend due to improper ticket allocation by the FAI. The fans in the stadium brought anti-FAI banners and sang anti-Delaney chants for most of the match. The situation escalated when the stewards and Gardaí forcefully removed the banners from the fans and ejected quite a few of the supporters as well. This was an intense situation for me because I had never seen protest during a sporting event before, let alone one only a few seats away. It was disheartening to see fans ejected for exercising their rights to protest, but hopefully John Delaney heard their message loud and clear and will make amends for the ticket fiasco and wrongful treatment of the fans.
By: Daniel Miller