Welcome to this brand new FM22 save, for this blog series we are heading over to Ireland, specifically the city of Cork. This introductory blog post will delve into the history of Cork City F.C. and how it came to be. However, in order to understand the history of Cork City Football Club, you need to understand the history of the Rebel City itself and to understand that, well, you need to know a little about the country of Ireland…

A Brief History of Ireland

The history of the Emerald Isle is a long and complex one, with the island being home to many different peoples and cultures over the centuries. The earliest known inhabitants of Ireland were the prehistoric people known as the Celts, who arrived in the country around 500 BC. The Celts were a group of tribal societies who occupied much of Europe during this time. They were known for their skilled warriors and for their unique art and culture. The Celts initially settled in the southern and western parts of Ireland, but they eventually spread across the entire island.

Around 400 BC, another group known as the Gaels began migrating to Ireland from Scotland. The Gaels were a Celtic people who spoke Gaelic, a language related to Welsh and Breton. They slowly assimilated with the existing Celtic population, and by the time of the Roman invasion in the 1st century AD, Gaelic was the dominant language spoken on the island. The Roman Empire conquered much of Europe during this time, and Ireland was no exception. The Romans never managed to fully subdue the island, however, and they eventually withdrew from Ireland in the 5th century AD. This left the country open to invasion by a new group of people known as the Vikings. The Vikings were a group of Scandinavian warriors who terrorised much of Europe during the 8th and 9th centuries. They first arrived in Ireland in 795 AD, and they quickly began plundering monasteries and settlements along the coast. Over time, the Vikings began to settle in Ireland, and by the 11th century they had established several powerful kingdoms.

The Vikings were eventually defeated by a coalition of Irish kings in 1014 AD. This victory marked the beginning of a new era in Irish history known as the High Middle Ages. During this time, Ireland was divided into several small kingdoms, each ruled by a powerful lord or king.

In 1169 AD, another group of invaders arrived on the island: the Normans. The Normans were French soldiers who had been invited to England by King William I. They subsequently invaded and conquered Ireland, bringing an end to the High Middle Ages. The Normans established a strong central government in Dublin, and they began to slowly assimilate with the Irish people. Over time, the English language began to replace Gaelic as the language of the ruling class. In the late 14th century, a new threat emerged: the Black Death. This deadly disease killed millions of people across Europe, including many in Ireland. The population of the island was greatly reduced, and the economy was severely impacted.

In 1541 AD, King Henry VIII formally declared Ireland to be a part of England. This event marked the beginning of centuries of British rule in Ireland. The Irish people experienced great hardship during this time, particularly during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

The English attempted to force the Irish to adopt Protestantism, and they also enacted harsh laws that discriminated against the Catholic majority. These policies led to a great deal of resentment among the Irish people, and in 1641 AD they revolted against the English. The revolt was quickly crushed, and the Irish were once again subjected to harsh British rule. In the late 18th century, however, the situation began to change. The Irish people started to organise themselves into secret societies known as the United Irishmen.

The United Irishmen sought to end British rule in Ireland and establish an independent republic. They staged a major rebellion in 1798 AD, but it was quickly put down by the British. In 1801 AD, however, Britain and Ireland agreed to form a union: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

The Irish people were promised that they would eventually be given their own parliament in Dublin, but this never happened. Instead, the British government continued to rule Ireland with an iron fist. In the late 19th century, a new generation of Irish nationalists began to agitate for independence. The most famous of these was a man named Charles Stewart Parnell. Parnell was a skilled politician, and he quickly gained a following among the Irish people. He led a series of political campaigns that eventually resulted in the passing of the Home Rule Act in 1914 AD. The act granted Ireland its own parliament in Dublin, but it also allowed Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom. This compromise led to years of conflict between the Irish nationalists and the British government.

The situation finally came to a head in 1916 AD, when the Irish nationalists staged a rebellion in Dublin. The rebels were quickly defeated, but the event sparked a series of bloody violence that would eventually lead to the Irish War of Independence. The war ended in 1921 AD with the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. The treaty granted Ireland its independence, but it also partitioned the island into two separate states: the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland.

Today, Ireland is a vibrant and prosperous country. It is home to a proud people who have overcome centuries of struggle and adversity. The history of Ireland is one of great tragedy and great triumph; it is a story that continues to inspire people around the world.

The Rebel City: Cathair Chorcaí

Cork is located in the south-west of Ireland in the province of Munster, it is colloquially known as ‘The Rebel City’ or ‘The People’s Republic of Cork’, often thought to be due to the long history of non-conformism and democratic socialist political activity that has taken place there. It is located on the banks of the River Lee which flows from the southeast to the northwest.

However, there is an alternative story as to why Cork is labelled ‘The Rebel City’. The story starts in the autumn of 1491, when a Flemish merchant’s ship docked right in the heart of the city. On board was a Breton silk-merchant called Pierre Jean Meno and his young apprentice, 17-year-old Perkin Werbecque.

It is important to remember, these were dangerous times in Ireland, as it was still a stronghold of the York family, who had been defeated by the Plantagenets in the recent, densely complicated dynastic struggle known as the Wars of The Roses.

Perkin was seen as something of a charismatic mystery to those in Cork. A rumour soon went around the city that this beautiful, finely dressed young man with a funny accent must be an aristocrat. Soon-after the whole of Cork was saying, he was the Earl of Warwick, one of the many missing Yorkist noblemen with a claim to the Crown Of England, Wales and Ireland! As a crowd gathered around him, Perkin denied that he was the Earl. He claimed that he was in fact, Richard, Duke of York, one of the disappeared “Princes In The Tower” and the one true King!

Historians have long argued how, exactly, Perkin came up with this incredible story.

The streets ran wild with Yorkist sentiment. This was not the first time that a ‘pretender’ had rocked up on the streets of Cork. Just a few years earlier the city had welcomed another unlikely claimant to the Throne of England, a young man called Lambert Simnell, who had proclaimed to be the Earl Of Warwick (who apparently made more comebacks than Britney Spears) and managed to lead a rebellion into England which was finally defeated in battle, but not before Henry VII had gotten quite the shock.

For the vocal support of both Simnell and Perkin, Cork would be proclaimed a “Rebel City” by King Henry VII, a moniker that has stuck to this day.

Cork City Football Club

Formed and elected to the League of Ireland in 1984 after the 1982 bankruptcy of Cork United , Cork City F.C. is one of the highest supported clubs on the island. Home games are played at Turners Cross, a 7,400 capacity stadium located on the south side of the city.

Crests of Cork City over the years

The first few years of existence were tumultuous for Cork City F.C., they avoided relegation to the First Division on goal difference only, as they failed to win a single game during the 1984/85 campaign. In 1986 things started to look up as the club managed a mid-table finish under manager Noel O’Mahony. The following year former Everton man Eamonn O’Keefe arrived as manager and guided the club to claiming the Munster Senior Cup and the League of Ireland Cup. By 1988, O’Mahony was re-installed as manager, and the side finished eighth in the league, and after reaching the FAI Cup final the club earned its first European ticket. The venture into Europe was ended by Torpedo Moscow, however the club did reclaim the Munster Senior Cup the following season.

The 1990s were a prosperous time for Cork City as they went on lengthy unbeaten runs and continuously qualified for European football, the highlight being a 1-1 draw with German giants Bayern Munich. 1993 saw City claim their first Premier Division title, they followed this up with a second place finish in 1994. During the 1995 season, the club began to suffer financial issues which stifled progress on the pitch, the club would go on to be ‘homeless’ for a period of time after failing to afford the stadium payments. The club tried to create some form of stability through the appointment of new manager Dave Barry, he guided the team to 9th, 4th and two 2nd place finishes over the following years.

Steady progress was made throughout the early 2000s, but in August 2008, after investment difficulties with venture capital firm Arkaga, the club entered into examinership (Irish version of administration). With debts of up to €800,000, cost-cutting measures were implemented and the club were docked 10 points in the league. In October 2008 the High Court ruled in favour of Tom Coughlan’s bid to take over the club, and ended the examinership. However, the club’s future was left in considerable doubt as “winding up” order was issued when no agreement could be reached on tax payments.  The club were given several extensions to pay or to appeal and the club narrowly staved off closure by meeting a final deadline. 

Financial difficulties followed the club into the 2010s and mounting pressure on Tom Coughlan, FORAS stepped up to save the club. Friends Of (The) Rebel Army Society was formed in 2007 to be Cork City Supporters Trust. On 23 February 2010, following the winding up and denial of a League of Ireland licence to Cork City, FORAS were granted a First Division licence. On 1 June 2010 the club completed the purchase and restoration of Cork City FC.

In 2011 the club was promoted back to the Premier Division after securing promotion on the final day. The following season they finished in sixth place, great progress would be made in the next few years which resulted in several 2nd place finished and Europa League qualification. The highest point of Cork City’s journey came in 2017 as they were crowned champions of the Premier Division after a 22 game unbeaten run, they completed the double by winning the FAI Cup.

The inevitable decline followed and in 2020 Cork City F.C. were relegated back to the First Division, and that is where we find them for the beginning of this FM22 save.

The Squad

The aim of this save is obviously to return Cork to the Premier Division and then on to make strides in European football. If we can do a bit of a ‘build a nation’ style save in the process then that would be brilliant. I would love to see a golden generation of Irish footballers come through.

Thank you for reading!

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