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Gareth McAuley hails united front for Irish League investment

Gareth McAuley has hailed the unity showed by Irish League clubs as they continue the fight for much-needed investment in facilities.

Clubs have shown a united front to make sure the long-awaited Sub-Regional Stadia Funding programme does finally come to fruition.

Former Northern Ireland McAuley, who made his name in local football before going to have a long and successful career in England, highlighted the importance of investment in the local game as it plays such a key role in so many people’s lives.

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“It’s been talked about for a long, long time,” he said.

Gareth McAuley has highlighted he importance of investment in the local game

“Training facilities, infrastructure, safe place to bring families, all these things they need investment.

“The country’s not big enough for clubs to produce that revenue themselves, they need backing and help.

“For me being on the inside of football and seeing how much it can unite people, bring them together and how much of a good feeling it can give. It probably gets missed sometimes by politicians and others. The importance of it gets lost.

“When we were all told to stay in the house two years ago and football completely stopped me personally I was lost without it. It was the first time in a long time I didn’t have anything to do.

“For a lot of people coming to football is their release and a place to socialise with their friends.

“It also brings people from all walks of life together, for me that’s the beauty of it, not just football but sport as a whole.

“The good thing for me, seeing it from the outside, was that when there was talk of the funding being pulled because of the executive collapsing all of football got together.

“I’m not just talking about the senior clubs, but all of football. I know not all the money is going to go down to the Championship and Premier Intermediate, but some will trickle down.

“There will always be that filtering process, and the better the top clubs are doing it will have an impact on the leagues below.”