By Patrick Corbett
The campaign for the establishment of a new League of Ireland club in Galway has gathered momentum as an entity named 'Galway FC' is set to make an application for a club licence ahead of the 2014 season.
According to the Galway Advertiser, a statement released by Galway FC asserted that the board of the new club would be made up of representatives from Gust (Galway United Supporters Club), current Airtricity First Division clubs Mervue United and Salthill Devon, as well as the Galway Football Association, as per the recommendations of the O'Connor report commissioned by the FAI in October 2012.
However, on Thursday morning, the situation became more volatile after Gust distanced itself from the statement in a move which could see group left out in the cold.
Posting from its official Twitter account, the supporters' group revealed that the statement was "not endorsed by Galway United Supporters Trust," and that it had been "issued without [their] approval".
Goal recently reported from a Gust meeting in which there was clear frustration at the lack of progress in getting Galway United reformed and the issue of what name the new club would bear.
The naming of the club appears to be a stumbling block for the parties involved. Gust owns the rights to the name 'Galway United', which is their preferred name for the new club. The group also hopes to have the new club owned by a co-operative and this was the main body of a motion which was carried with a healthy majority at the meeting.
Mervue United declined to comment on the recent developments when contacted by Goal, while representatives from Salthill Devon could not be reached. Gust, meanwhile, have announced that they will be making a statement in the next few days.
Understandably, parties are reluctant to comment at this time, particularly when it seemed that significant progress had been made in achieving what all concerned are working towards: a single League of Ireland club playing in Galway.
There is a consensus among those involved that the issue needs to be resolved so that one team representing the city and county is operating at senior level and so another generation of fans can cheer on from the stands of Eamon Deacy Park.
However, Gust's apparent distance from the other parties involved in this process is becoming a cause for concern. As a group representing a significant body of match-going football fans within Galway's football community, it would be beneficial for the fledgling club, if it had their unequivocal support.