Drogheda United are to rename their home ground for the coming season after one of their “corporate patrons”, won the right to select a new name in a club-run lottery.
The expectation would have been that another name of a product or company would have been attached to what was once Hunky Dorys and O2 Park but local councillor Joanna Byrne chose Head In The Game Park in tribute to the mental health campaign established last year “to bring awareness [of the issue] and start a conversation for supporters and anyone involved in the League Of Ireland”.
The club might have had higher hopes for the fundraising aspect of the entire venture before the pandemic had a limiting effect on the number of participants but seem happy with an outcome they see as highly appropriate in the circumstances.
“I suppose originally we thought there would have more people in the draw but then Covid hit and we put the whole thing on hold before deciding to press ahead with it any away,” says club chairman Conor Hoey. “We’re delighted that the way things have turned out, though, it’s going to be highlighting such an important cause.”
Byrne says that she had been impressed before to see young fans supporting the issue and hopes to highlight it further among supporters across the league.
“I have seen young Drogheda fans with banners saying ‘It’s ok not to be ok’ and I think it’s wonderful that younger people are confronting the stigma of mental health,” she says. “I really hope the renaming of United Park takes this a step further.”
Dean Arrowsmith, chair of Head In the Game, says that the organisation “wants to work on breaking down stigma and getting people to speak to one another when they’re having a difficult day or week. We hope our campaign can do a lot of good over the season ahead. I want to thank the team in Drogheda United for getting us involved and for their ongoing support; it’s a privilege for us as a group and we hope our campaign can be embraced right throughout the League.”