"Never Ignored: Ollie's Reds" The incredible story of Ollie Byrne and Shelbourne F.C.

Newstalk documentary examines one of Irish sport's most dramatic stories of rise and fall

BY Newstalk 11:34 Saturday 16 August 2014, 11:34 16 Aug 2014

Ollie Byrne's life with Shelbourne Football Club is looked at in a new Newstalk documentary

“Anything he did, it wasn’t for him, it wasn’t to line his pocket. It was for the benefit of the club so you stayed in with him because of that. Was it worth the ride? I don’t know, I’m not sure.” – Joe Casey, current Shelbourne chairman, speaking in 'Never Ignored: Ollie's Reds'

In a new, original documentary, ‘Never Ignored: Ollie’s Reds’, Documentary producer Eoin Brennan brings us the story of one of Irish sport's most remarkable figures, and perhaps the most dramatic tale of rise and fall in Irish sporting history.

Listen to the full documentary via the player below or download on iTunes:

This is the story of Shelbourne Football Club’s rise from a destitute club in the 1980s to coming within 30 minutes of the Champions League group stages in 2004, before an unprecedented, rapid fall in late 2006 left the club drowning in debt and struggling for survival.

The programme examines how Shelbourne’s fate was rooted in the bold, revolutionary and ultimately doomed vision of Ollie Byrne – the club’s owner, one time saviour and its most passionate supporter.

Going beyond Byrne’s time in football, ‘Never Ignored: Ollie’s Reds’ also tells the earlier story of Byrne, from his time managing bands, including Phil Lynott’s Skid Row, on the Dublin rock scene of the 1970s, to running nightclubs and a spell in prison.

A parable of Ireland in the Celtic Tiger years, Ollie Byrne and Shelbourne followed unbridled ambition and fuelled it with borrowings far beyond their means, and this story tells us not only about sport, but also wider Irish society during those years.

Through interviews with former players, managers, Shelbourne board members, staff and supporters, and Ollie Byrne’s family, this documentary brings us the story of one of the most colourful characters ever to grace Irish sport.

On Tuesday night Off the Ball took an extensive look back on Ollie Byrne’s life and his impact at Shelbourne; speaking with Pat Fenlon, Stuart Byrne, Dan McDonnell of the Irish Independent and Brush Shiels of Skid Row, who worked with Byrne during the early days of the Dublin rock scene.

You can listen to Off the Ball's take on Ollie and Shelbourne via the payer below:

'Never Ignored: Ollie’s Reds’ will be repeated on Newstalk on Sunday evening at 6pm.

‘Never Ignored: Ollie’s Reds’ was written and produced by Eoin Brennan. Presented by and sound design by Neil Kavanagh. Edited by Eoin Brennan and Neil Kavanagh. Additional research and reporting by Shane Dawson.

The project was supported by a grant from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, as part of the Sound And Vision Scheme.

Archive audio supplied by RTE Archives and Libraries

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