Dom Doyle FC – Remembering Dom through football in the community

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In June 2015, 21 year old Dominic Doyle tragically died after being stabbed during a night out in Manchester. To help his family with funeral costs, and to celebrate Dom’s life, friends and family got together and created a football club in Dom’s name – Dom Doyle FC. This club is not only keeping Dom’s memory alive. It has galvanised the local community and is helping to raise awareness of knife crime.

In recognition of this outstanding social initiative. Dom Doyle FC was named ‘Club of the Year’ award at the 2018 Greater Manchester Sports Awards, in November 2018. And Steroplast had the honour, and the pleasure, of presenting the award.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, we didn’t get the opportunity to talk in depth on the night – they were, understandably, otherwise occupied. However, since then, we’ve managed to catch up with them and find out a little more about how they went about using such a sad and horrific event as the basis of something that is contributing so positively to the local community.

Where did the idea behind Dom Doyle FC first come from?

Well, the idea originated with Dom’s friends. Will Hustler, Jordan McCann and Rick Dorney. They put their heads together to think of ways to raise money to help pay for Dom’s funeral.

Their first idea was to organise a fundraising football tournament. Thanks to the fact that the entire community got behind the idea, donating whatever they could, this turned out to be a great success. As Dom was highly regarded in the area, hundreds of people came – it was fantastic. One lovely lady brought some doves to the tournament. They were released by Jay, Dom’s father, during a minute silence before kick-off.

Dom Doyle FC Releasing Doves

It was on that day that Dom’s friends realised that football didn’t need to be a one-off – why not form a football team in Dom’s memory? After that, things snowballed into something very special. It’s not an exaggeration to say that we all love and live for this club in some way.

Was it a struggle putting the team together?

Finding players was pretty straightforward – we were absolutely inundated with lads wanting to be part of the team. It was a lot tougher coping with all the behind-the-scenes admin. The paperwork, FA and League registration, sourcing funds, footballs, nets and kit. Plus, of course, we had to find a pitch to play on.

Thankfully, though, Will Hustler’s Dad, Billy, was kind enough to take on this responsibility. We’re really grateful to him as, without his knowledge and support from the very beginning, we simply wouldn’t have got the idea off the ground.

Since the team’s first game, how have things changed?

The short answer to that is – a lot! We started with almost nothing, playing in a borrowed football kit with a few second-hand footballs. Now, we’re a well-organised Chartered Standard Club with 4 individual teams, a Clubhouse and our very own DDFC team bus! In our first year, we had no sponsors, and now we have five. To say we’re proud of, and grateful to, everyone involved is an understatement! We wouldn’t be here without them.

Dom Doyle FC, Dom's father Jay and friends

Has the team won anything since first established?

Yes, we’ve had amazing success since our start in 2015. Thanks to the commitment of the people involved, we’ve won community awards as well as football trophies. Everyone wants the same thing. To keep Dom’s memory alive and get his name on as many trophies as possible, while raising awareness of knife crime. Our trophy cabinet is getting fuller and fuller – it now contains:

  • Two League Cups in the 2016/17 season
  • Team of the Year 2017 at the FA’s prestigious award ceremony in Manchester
  • Three cups in the 2017/18 season, including the Prestigious Wray Cup
  • Pride of Tameside Award in 2018
  • Club of the Year at the Greater Manchester Sports Awards 2018

Dom Doyle FC receiving the Pride of Tameside Award

So, what’s the secret of your success?

I think it’s because our football club isn’t just about football. It’s not easy to put into words exactly what has been created out of such tragic circumstances, but – basically – we’re a ‘family’ of ordinary people, from a variety of backgrounds and professions, who share the same vision. This combination of vision, togetherness and commitment gives us a unique strength. It enables us to make a real contribution to the community.

Do you think the team has helped Dom’s parents?

We feel that we owe it to Dom’s Mum and Dad to be true to our promise and keep Dom’s memory alive, and constantly raise awareness of knife crime.

Dom’s parents have always said that without Dom Doyle FC they don’t know where they would be. We always tell them that, although they lost a son that night, and he can never be replaced, they gained 50 sons with this football club. They come to our training sessions, and to every single game, they make us all food after the match, wash the kits and take really good care of everyone. We’re just one big family.

What do you think we can do to combat the problem of knife crime?

First and foremost, we need to raise awareness of the issue. We need high profile people, the government and others, to get involved and fund a major campaign. To encourage young people not to carry knives. Young people need to feel ashamed to carry a knife, and be educated about the impact knife crime has on the families of the victims.

That, however, won’t be enough on its own. There also needs to be tougher sentences for carrying, and being in possession of, a knife. Only cowards carry knives. Bin the Knife – Save a Life!

What role do you think sport/football can play in tackling knife crime?

Sports, and other, personalities, have the ability and opportunity to play a real and significant role in tackling knife crime. These high-profile individuals, and the organisations they work for, should come together and back a national campaign that encourages young people not to carry knives.

Pro footballers and their clubs, such as Manchester City and Manchester United, are in a particularly powerful position, as most young people look up to them. We think this would have a massive impact.

How do you think parents can help, and how should they broach the issue of knife crime with their children?

Parents have a vital role to play in educating their sons/daughters about knife crime. The key is to be completely open and honest with their children. But there’s also a need for ‘tough love’, to make sure that their children understand the gravity of the situation. We believe that parents should warn their kids that they will report them to the police if they find out they’re carrying knives or involved in knife crime.

How are the teams getting on in the league/cup this season?

We’re having another fantastic season. Dom Doyle FC (Sunday) and Dom Doyle Rangers are both through to the quarter finals of the Manchester County Cup and quarter finals of the Fred Davies Cup.

Dom Doyle FC (Saturday) remain unbeaten at the top of the Lancashire & Cheshire League and the club is through to the Quarter Finals of the League Cup.

Dom Doyle FC team photo

What’s next for Dom Doyle FC?

Basically, more of the same. We intend to carry on keeping Dom’s memory alive, win more trophies and raise awareness of knife crime across the Manchester area – and nationally if we get the opportunity.

We also have an exciting opportunity to be involved in another short film about knife crime, which we hope will be launched in the Summer of 2019.

As you can see, Dom Doyle FC have come a long way, and made some fantastic achievements on route. If you would like more information on the team, their fixtures and results, you can follow the club’s official Facebook page. If you would like to sponsor the team, or want to suggest opportunities to help them promote the club, you can contact them on 07952 671473.

For more information on the issues of knife crime, you can see our recent blog about this. There is also some great help and advice available on the NSPCC, Childline and No Knives, Better Lives websites.