LAST Saturday was a seismic day for Cork City as the club was relegated to the First Division of the SSE Airtricity League.
Tomorrow night has the potential to just as, if not more, transformative as members of Foras, the supporters’ trust which runs the club, vote on whether or not Grovemoor Ltd should be allowed to avail of the option to buy the club.
Grovemoor, owned by Trevor Hemmings, who has various business interests in Cork, provided salvation to City earlier this year by offering cash in exchange for the sell-on clauses the club held on Preston North End duo Alan Browne and Seán Maguire. Without that injection, City would not have received a Premier Division licence.
As part of those discussions, the possibility of a takeover arose, with progress stunted somewhat by the first lockdown in spring of this year. Now, a special general meeting will finally see a decision made.
The board of management of Foras has given its support to a ‘yes’ vote and chairman Declan Carey has once again outlined why he believed that the future of the club will be safeguarded by Grovemoor.
“The board has worked collaboratively with Grovemoor Ltd over the past number of months finalising the various terms of their potential acquisition of Cork City FC, which after thorough consideration we deem to be in the best interest for the future of Cork City FC and by extension, that of Foras,” he said.
“The whole board unanimously support the motion and we are encouraging the shareholders of Foras to support the authorized completion of the sale option agreement.
“Again, we would not have a football club today without the support of Mr Hemmings and Grovemoor Ltd. In the event that we did go out of business in February, there would have been no Foras as a fall-back to restart in the first division, as we had done in 2010.
“We continue to be honest and forthright in communications with the shareholders of Foras and have maintained our dedication to transparency over the course of this exceedingly difficult time. As a board, we remain as ambitious as we always have been, but being on the inside we cannot discount how difficult the last two years have been for the football club, primarily due to our financial position.
“It is due to our ambitions, the environment that we are operating under, and our commitment to, and dealings with Grovemoor and Mr Hemmings, that at this moment in time we feel that the best thing for our football club is to support the motion authorizing completion of the sale option agreement.”
If the vote passes, then Grovemoor will have the option to buy, though there is still no guarantee that that will actually happen. Assuming that that does transpire though, there is no reason for Foras not to continue, able to work in the background and fulfil its original role of being an important safety-net if the worst was to happen.
If a majority vote no, things will continue as they are, with Foras still in charge. The club will plan to budget for eight teams in 2021, both male and female (five academy, two senior and one amputee), though the inputs to this budget are highly volatile at the moment due to the current economic climate.