INSTITUTE F.C. is involved in ongoing negotiations with Derry City & Strabane District Council in relation to the possibility of playing its home matches at Brandywell Stadium, should ‘Stute secure promotion to the Irish Premiership next season.
Following Derry City’s long awaited, hugely successful return to its spiritual home last night, it has emerged the ‘Candy Stripes’ Drumahoe neighbours have enquired about the possiblity of a ground-share which would bring Irish League football back to the Lone Moor Road venue for the first time since 1971.
The whole of Northern Ireland looks at this city as a beacon in terms of cross community relations and integration and I think it will be another great news story, if that were to happen.Bill Anderson
The ‘Journal’ also understands that Institute had listed The Oval, Belfast, on their licencing application - the home of Glentoran - as their venue for home matches for the 2018/19 campaign, should they gain promotion.
However, since then the club now hopes to change its nominated ground to the redeveloped Brandywell Stadium and the players have already trained on the new 3G surface during a session last week.
It is also known that Institute had opened negotiations with local community groups, Derry City & Strabane District Council, the PSNI and Derry City Football Club about the possibility of hosting its home matches at Brandywell.
However, should the move get the green light, there would be plans put in place to stage high profile matches - against Linfield for example - in Belfast at The Oval.
It’s also believed the Waterside club, which has been without a ground since floods literally washed away its traditional base at the Riverside Stadium last August, could possibly set up home at Clooney Park West or play on the Stadium pitch in St. Columb’s Park, with both sites owned by the local council.
Meanwhile, just a few weeks ago the Drumahoe club received €160,880 from the UEFA Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee to assist in the rebuilding of the club.
On the pitch, Paddy McLaughlin’s side currently sit seven points clear at the summit of the Bluefin Sport Championship table with seven games remaining, after securing a valuable point in a 1-1 dresult at Portadown, last Friday night.
Commenting recently, the club’s chairman, Mr. Bill Anderson, stated that the newly refurbished Brandywell Stadium could be a possibility for Institute.
He said: “We are actively looking for a relocation, but those negotiations are still on going at this moment in time,
“I think the Brandywell practically, makes a lot of sense for the start of next season.
“For both the IFA and people at the club, I think such a move would be a positive thing for the city.
“The whole of Northern Ireland looks at this city as a beacon in terms of cross community relations and integration and I think it will be another great news story, if that were to happen.
“I can say that we are currently involved in conversations with the local community groups; Derry City and Strabane District Council and the PSNI about the possibility of that happening.”