To most normal and rational people, a match ticket is nothing more than a small piece of paper that gets one in to actually see a game. I accept that I am in the minority on this, but to me, it’s a little more than that.
When it comes to tickets, I’m a bit of a hoarder. I have a number of shoeboxes in my wardrobe full of them. From League of Ireland matches, Irish internationals, Premier League, Serie A, La Liga and European Championship tickets, I have a shedload. Every once in a while, I like to take them out and flick through.
Unfortunately, there are plenty that barely deserve a second look; of these, League of Ireland clubs are responsible for most.
I don’t mean to tar all Irish sides with the same brush, but some are just plain lazy. The standard Ticketmaster templates are seen far too often, with some being even more dull and unimaginative than those.
Funnily, it was a club with a unique ticket that sparked my initial annoyance and inadvertently gave birth to the idea for this blog. Bray Wanderers’ tickets, to be fair, are *nearly* nice. They include the club’s, league’s, and FAI’s logo, as well as naming the opposition.
Their major flaw, however, is that where the away club’s identity is revealed, is a white box that is filled with a stamp of the visitors’ name. On the night that this blog idea was conceived, the visitors to the Carlisle Grounds were St. Patrick’s Athletic. Something about the way in which this box was filled just didn’t sit well with me. Opting to use ‘Saint Pat’s’ is a strange decision, furthermore when you consider that the full word ‘Saint’ doesn’t even appear in the club’s crest. St. Patrick’s Athletic, St. Pat’s, Pat’s.
St. Patrick’s Athletic, St. Pat’s, or Pat’s. Not Saint Pat’s. Never that.
It’s not all bad. Some tickets are good, and there are definitely clubs who deserve credit. Bohemians usually do well, though appear to have changed their style lately, which is a shame. You can see photos below. Formerly red and black, in keeping with the iconic club colours, they now use a template of tickets.ie.
Shamrock Rovers do well. They are match-specific and have the date, time and opposition club name on them, which can be something of a rarity in the league.
Shelbourne’s are different, and, surprisingly, are also match-specific.
Sligo Rovers provide something of a throwback to a bygone era of the game. A time before money took control, which is endearing in its own way.
For me, though, the winner of the league’s best ticket is a club that I have a lot of time for. Had Bray not existed, and I moved to the country and picked a team at random, it would more than likely be this one. Wexford Youths’ match tickets break most of the usual rules. They’re general and mass-produced. They don’t mention a date, an opponent, or even a competition. But for me, they take the prize.
I have always had something of a soft spot for the colours pink and purple in football, and when Wexford came about wearing pink, they immediately won a piece of my heart. Bias likely plays a role, but I am yet to see a nicer ticket than Wexford’s. The old Bohs red and black one goes close, but not quite enough.