A new book detailing the history of Dundalk FC has been released by Lilywhites supporter Daniel Sexton.
‘Dundalk Football Club: In Black and White’ is available via Kindle or paperback from Amazon and uses press clippings from local and national titles from down through the years to recount the history of the club.
The self published book is a phenomenal account of all the highs and lows that have been experienced by Dundalk FC since even before its formation in 1903.
Yet, amazingly, Daniel revealed it was never his intention to write the book.
Having lived in Cork since 2001, he originally set about tracing the history of his family, who run Sexton’s Bar & Restaurant on the Dublin Road, only for that research to take him on a much unexpected path through the archives of the club he loves.
“I’ve never written a book and I don’t know how other people go about writing them but I actually had no intention of writing a book until it was almost half done,” he laughed.
“What actually happened was, I took a notion to research family history for my kid just over a year ago so I signed up to all the genealogy sites and all the newspaper archive sites etc but I discovered after about a week that there was nothing of any interest about my family to be found but I had paid for them all so on the day they first showed the Jimmy Hasty programme with John Creedon on RTÉ, I took a notion to look up the newspaper reports of Jimmy Hasty’s murder on the likes of The Belfast Telegraph and Irish Press archive.
“I downloaded the clippings because I thought they were interesting and then I picked up Jim Murphy’s books and started going through them. Every time I found something a bit interesting, I’d go and find the article and I’d download the clipping. The next thing I knew over the course of a few weeks I had a couple of hundred clippings.
“Then I decided I’d clean up the Dundalk FC Wikipedia page using all the clippings but as I was going along I was afraid someone would come along and delete it so I was copy and pasting everything into a word document. Then all of a sudden I had about 300 pages written.
“It was only then that I thought maybe I could do something with it. So even though I was researching it for about nine months it was only around the time that Jim died around Christmas that I took a notion to put a book together but even then I didn’t really know what I wanted to do.
“I’ve no connection to the club bar being a fan and having bought a share back in the days of the Co-Op. I’d know one or two people involved in passing but I’ve no access to players or photographs.
“Jim had done everything so I said why would you write a book when Jim has the whole thing done? I’m not a writer so I didn’t want it to be boring either and for no one to read it but I had been copy and pasting in quotes from clippings and it was only at that point did I think why am I trying to write the book when I should be presenting the original stories from journalists so I called myself an editor rather than an author because what I’ve done is curate a collection of newspaper articles about the club and then used my own fairly limited but functional language to try and join the dots.
“What I effectively did was piggy back on other people’s work. I consider myself as being like a curator in a museum. It is other people’s art but all I’ve done is tried to stick the bits that go together the best to make the nicest exhibition.”
It’s quite the exhibition all right, with some of the best writers from past and present brought together to give accounts of everything from great occasions to days we’d all love to forget.
Daniel, who still travels regularly to Oriel Park for matches despite residing in Douglas, said it wouldn’t have been possible however without the late Jim Murphy’s books as a reference point.
“They were invaluable even from the point of view of dates.
“The reason I self published it was because it became a labour of love. I wanted to put it together and be proud of it.”
While Daniel learned more than a thing or two about the club he first started supporting in 1988, he said the real hard part was limiting the amount of content about the modern era in which he can remember.
“I was working off archives and no memory for a lot of it. I’ve been going to Oriel Park since about 1988 but it’s only really since the title win in 1995 when I was about 17 or 18 that I could start working off my own memory.
“I found then that the chapters were getting twice as long because I was remembering particular matches. Trying to avoid my own memory was nearly the toughest part but I hope I managed to do it without expressing opinion. I knew what I wanted to say but I tried to do it in such a way that the articles told the story for me”
It’s quite a story.
You can order your copy from Amazon now.