THE board of Foras, the supporters’ trust which owns Cork City, has backed a proposal to sell the club to Grovemoor Ltd.
Members of Foras have been informed of a general meeting on Wednesday, October 28. There will be just one item to vote one, namely the authorisation to complete a ‘call option agreement’ which was signed by the board of management and Grovemoor in February.
Grovemoor is controlled by English businessman Trevor Hemmings, who also owns Preston North End. Earlier this year, Preston alleviated some of the financial pressure that Cork City were under when they agreed to purchase the sell-on clauses that the Rebel Army held relating to Seán Maguire and Alan Browne, both of whom moved from City to the Lancashire club.
That led to discussions regarding the club’s long-term future and Grovemoor expressed an interest in a takeover should the possibility arise.
A simple majority of 50 percent plus one vote is required for the motion to be passed and, if that transpires, then Grovemoor will have the right to exercise the call option. Ownership would pass to them for the nominal price of €1 and they would also take on the club’s liabilities.
Foras was established in 2007 as a safeguard in case Cork City came into difficulties and, when the Tom Coughlan-owned City were refused a licence for the 2010 league season, a supporters-owned entity entered a team in the first division.
During City’s time as a fan-owned club, they have won one Premier Division title and two FAI Cups but late last year it emerged that the financial position had become precarious, to the point where a licence for 2020 would not have been granted without the intervention of Hemmings and Preston.
Cork City are currently mired in a relegation battle in the Premier Division with time and games running out to avoid the drop to Division 1.
Since a golden era under John Caulfield when they were to the fore of League of Ireland soccer, culminating in a double in 2017, they've slid alarmingly down the table.
Caulfield's former assistant John Cotter was at the helm for a spell before Neale Fenn took over but the former league-winning striker has struggled amid budget cuts and the loss of key players.