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'In the recession we were the forgotten city': Waterford devastated after Europa League expulsion

Alan Reynolds said it is ‘gut-wrenching’ to lose out on playing in this summer’s Europa League qualifiers.

Waterford FC manager Alan Reynolds.
Waterford FC manager Alan Reynolds.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

NEWS OF WATERFORD’S expulsion from this summer’s Europa League qualifiers has been a devastating blow for both the club and the local community, manager Alan Reynolds admitted.

The Munster side finished in fourth place last season and were due to take their place in the first qualifying round of the competition, but earlier this week were denied a Uefa licence.

The club’s management company changed under the ownership of Lee Power in 2016, with Uefa’s rules stating a club must be in existence for a minimum of three years in order to take part in either the Champions League or Europa League.

“It’s really disappointing,” Reynolds told RTÉ Sport after his side’s 2-0 victory against Cork City last night. 

Izzy Akinade celebrates scoring a goal The Munster club finished fourth last season in their first year back in the Premier Division since 2007. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

“We’re not sure where it’s at at the minute, but look, this city has been knocked before. Even in the recession we were the forgotten city, I suppose.

“To get a kick like that is really hard to take at this stage of the season. How somebody doesn’t know this before that, before 10 or 11 games into the season — look it’s really disappointing.”

The 44-year-old led Waterford to the First Division title in swash-buckling style during his first season in charge, before securing an impressive top four finish during the Blues’ first season back in the top-flight since 2007.

Reynolds said nobody at the RSC outfit saw this week’s Uefa ruling coming. St Patrick’s Athletic, who finished one place below Waterford last season, are now expected to take the final European place for July’s qualifiers.

We’re disappointed for the players, the staff and the supporters and obviously Lee Power,” said the Waterford manager.

“I didn’t see it coming at all. We’ve had people down here [looking at] the ground and we’ve had fixtures moved forward for it and all that.

“When I heard it first I didn’t believe it, to be honest. But look, it will be a blame game — nobody will take responsibility for it now I’d say.”

Last night Reynolds side saw off struggling Cork City 2-0 thanks to goals from Shane Duggan and Zack Elbouzedi.

The manager said his side felt a need to put in a complete performance after this week’s devastating news.

“You don’t get the chance to play in Europe that often. Lee [Power] is fuming with it, he’s furious. He’s invested a lot into this and the players and the supporters are just really gutted. 

“The players are disappointed. We spoke about it before the game and really we needed to put in a performance for the supporters tonight. But we’ll dust ourselves down and see where it goes.

“To lose out playing in Europe is massive for us all, the city, myself and the management. It’s gut-wrenching to see this but hopefully it’ll change.”

Gavan Casey and Murray Kinsella are joined by Andy Dunne to preview the Champions Cup semi-finals and all the week’s news on the latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly:


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Aaron Gallagher

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