INTERVIEW BY ANDREW DEMPSEY | LTFC.ie
Having swapped United Park for the City Calling Stadium last week, Chris Mulhall got talking on the phone with Andrew Dempsey for LTFC.ie, where the former Limerick FC man was discussing his move to De Town, his hopes for the season ahead and his thoughts on the new structure of the First Division in 2018.
Speaking on why he decided to join Longford Town, Mulhall revealed that he was quite close to joining up with Neale Fenn and Longford Town during the summer transfer window when he made the decision to part ways with Limerick in July. He also added that Fenn’s footballing philosophy played a role in his decision.
“I was close to signing for the club when I was looking to get out of Limerick. Neale rang me in the summer transfer window and it was close to happening then. I’ve heard good things about Neale’s football and how he likes to play, and I think that football is probably the best for me.”
“The only reason I didn’t join in the summer was that I wanted to stay in the premier at the time and try to get myself a few goals and what not. The challenge at Drogheda was to stay clear of relegation, and I saw that as a challenge!”
The former UCD, Shelbourne, Shamrock Rovers, Limerick and most recently Drogheda United man then got talking on how he was convinced by Town boss Neale Fenn to play for the FAI Cup Winners of ‘03 and ’04.
“Neale was always very close to signing me and the second time he rang I had a chat with him, met him twice and yeah, he convinced me. The team he’s trying to put together seems like a good one and we’ve got every chance in getting promoted.”
Undoubtedly, Mulhall said that he is keen to establish a strong relationship with the Longford Town supporters, akin to the strong bond he established with the Limerick FC fans while at the Markets Field.
“Yeah without doubt, any support of mine has been really appreciative of my hard work. They’ll always get that out of me and luckily enough down in Limerick it all came together, scoring a lot of goals and winning trophies. As a result, I had great relationship with the Limerick fans and still do to this day. Yeah definitely if we can get the fans on side. I’m a player that will work hard and it will be definitely a big aim of mine to get the fans on side myself.”
Mulhall, no stranger to gaining promotion from the First Division, having achieved the feat with no less than three clubs, has said that he is looking to help Neale Fenn and Longford Town secure Premier Division football at the City Calling Stadium for the 2019 campaign.
“That’s exactly it, that’s the reason I’m going here! As I said talking with Neale about the players that he’s trying to bring in, and the players that are already signed back, he’s got work done nice and early.”
“We’d like to think that when we get back in January that the squad will be nearly finalised. I’m not saying that we’re going to have a head start on teams but if you can get your squad in nice and early you can build for the pre-season.”
“It’s only six weeks long and the team needs to know exactly what they want to do ahead of the start of the season. So hopefully we get a good start and hopefully we’ll be in the mix for promotion for the end of the season.”
Finally, the Birmingham-born Mulhall revealed his thoughts on how he thinks the newly-structured First Division will play out next season, saying that he thinks it will be a more competitive spectacle than the previous two seasons.
“Last time I was in the First Division (with Limerick) there was only 7 I think so it wasn’t very good. Every 6/7 weeks you’re back around playing the same team. The 10 team (league) will definitely suit the First Division with the games being a lot more competitive. Obviously the three coming down and the teams that were already in it from last year will make it very competitive.”
“But, look it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to. The last two years in the First Division, Limerick the team who I was involved with were far too strong for it and Waterford were probably the same last year. So, this year I would expect it to be a little bit closer with 4 or 5 teams fighting it out.”