John Caulfield calls for Thursday night football on TV

The Cork boss thinks live football should be stand-alone ties to increase viewers

BY Stephen Long 19:07 Tuesday 13 February 2018, 19:07 13 Feb 2018

Cork City manager John Caulfield celebrates winning the 2017 SSE Airtricity League title ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Cork City manager John Caulfield says there should be one live League of Ireland game on TV every week - and thinks Thursday night would be the night to play it.

The new SSE Airtricity League season gets going this week, with Cork beginning the defence of their title away to St. Patrick’s Athletic on Friday night. Dundalk, who are expected once again to be their closest challengers, are at home to Bray Wanderers, while Bohs face Shamrock Rovers in a Dublin derby and newly promoted Waterford take on Derry City.

The publicity of the league is often a hot topic, although perhaps the most encouraging news was the confirmation that attendances at League of Ireland games last year rose by roughly 24% on 2016.

However at today’s season launch Caulfield admitted he was disappointed by the level of coverage of Sunday’s FAI President’s Cup win over Dundalk, in which they overturned a 2-0 half-time deficit to win 4-2 at Oriel Park.

When asked by Off The Ball’s Oisin Langan about where he thinks coverage can improve the Cork boss suggested a stand-alone night of televised football, without any clashes to other games.

“It’s a professional league. It’s the top league in our country. Every country in Europe has weekly matches on TV - we don’t.”

“Yes a lot is going for our league. Yes we are getting a lot of coverage. I believe we should be getting more because we are the top league in the country, we’re playing in European football.”

“I think we should have a live match on every Thursday night at 7.30 or 8pm because all the League of Ireland football family are out supporting their teams on a Friday night. If I’m a manager, if I’m a supporter, I want to see the game on TV, which you can’t do (if on a Friday night).”

Cork City are aiming to retain the league title for the first time in their history, having secured the top-tier trophy for the third time in 2017, however Caulfield has stated that the club must work “harder than we’ve ever done” if they’re to maintain their recent few years of success.

“There’s probably an element within your supporters that when you win a few trophys, there’s sometimes an element that you take things for granted, and you must remember that this club has had very little success in its history. We won a couple of leagues and a couple of cups, and then all of a sudden the last couple of years we’re in three cup finals, we’ve won back-to-back cups which has never happened in the club’s history, and we’ve won a double. For the first time I feel we need to stay up there and challenge.”

“If anyone around the club relaxes and thinks that comes easy, then they’re living in cloud cuckoo land. We’ve to work as hard as we can, and harder than we’ve done to stay up there and our club has never had sustained success, and the challenge to us is seeing when we’re in this period at the moment, can we stay up there. That’s the job of the management and time will tell, but all our work is geared to making sure we’re well tuned in and ready to go for the season.”

Off The Ball

Newsletter

The very best bits of Off The Ball delivered every week