On the third episode of LOI Arena, Brian Gartland revealed he was in tears after Covid forced the temporary closure of his new business, which he had just set up.
LOI Arena is the new podcast about the League of Ireland and Irish football from Con Murphy, Conan Byrne and Pundit Arena.
This week’s guests were former Dundalk teammates Robbie Benson and Brian Gartland, and Gartland opened up about setting up a new business just before the pandemic started.
“Well I didn’t know a pandemic was coming then. I set it up just before the first lockdown came,” the Dundalk player told Con and Conan.
“It’s called Recovery Room, it’s in Junction 6 in Castleknock/Blanchardstown, right on the M50. It’s literally reducing risk of injury, speeds up recovery from exercise. We have cold baths, compression boots, infrared sauna, hot tubs and other tools like massage guns.
“It’s something I’ve used and done for a lot of my life but the cost of the stuff, I could never have it all. You look in America and every college, NBA, NFL team have their own room probably three times the size of my room in there with all the equipment because they’ve money to burn. Here, clubs can’t afford it so it’s a way of getting that service without putting in big money yourself.
“Unfortunately, it’s been eight and a half months out of 13 months I’ve been closed. Even when we were open, it was reduced capacity and sports aren’t at full swing.
“It’s been disappointing but I’m hoping we’ll be open again soon and give a good go at it to be successful. What can you do? You can’t control that sort of stuff.”
During the short period that Recovery Room was open, the defender welcomed many sports stars including League of Ireland players and Olympians.
“I’ve had a load from Leinster Senior to League of Ireland teams, Dundak, Bohs, players from Drogheda, Cabinteely, Longford. Could name UCD, Pats,” Gartland continued.
“We’ve had top rugby teams in, some Dublin GAA players, Olympians, international athletes, boxers, MMA fighters, big names that sort of thing. In the few months we were open I was very pleased but it’s hard to get a good run at it.
“I had plans a year down the line and there’s a lot more I want to add to it but you need cashflow to reinvest in the business. I put a lot of my own savings into it at the time and wasn’t looking to take money out of it the first year, pandemic aside.”
The 34-year-old admitted he struggled during those first couple of weeks when his business was forced to close initially.
“The first two weeks when Covid struck and like I said, every bit of my savings was put in. I was trying to refinance the business,” Gartland said.
“I was close to tears and a couple of weeks I just sat in this office and my head was… there was tears. I got myself into a way that it was doing me no good.
“I think that sort of attitude comes from experience, if I’m on the pitch in terms of the football life and then from off the pitch, you can’t change what’s happened.
“My father passed away seven years ago and it’s the same sort of thing. There’s no point of me moping around, obviously I miss him and everything but I learned a lot from that. I miss him and he’s not there for big moments but it’s done and it’s happened. So I can go and make it worse and make the rest of my life a struggle and not get work done or I can just get on with it.
“Listen, you’re going to have bad days, bad weeks like I said but life goes on. Life doesn’t stop outside the door here, everything else goes on so you just have to get on with it. I keep saying, it can always be worse. I’m lucky I have a lovely family here, we’re expecting another child this summer, everyone’s healthy so in the grand scheme of things, you look around you, that’s what it is.
“So I try to be that way and control what I can. Listen you still get bad days, and you get pissed off but it’s just a reset button I try and click.”
LOI Arena is the new home for great League of Ireland discussion. Each week Con and Conan will take to the mic to analyse the highs and lows from the Greatest League in the World. The lads are joined by great guests each week who share a passion for all things LOI and Irish Football.
Former Dundalk teammates Robbie Benson and Brian Gatland joined the lads to chat about their clubs contrasting starts to the season, Brian’s cruciate injury and much more.
The podcast will form part of a new membership offering from Pundit Arena that focuses on Irish soccer fans for just €3.99 per month, less than a euro per week.
Fans can sign up or register to listen for free at https://punditarena.com/loiarena.