'Powerhouse' Cork City need to have a big say in a League of Ireland restart

'Powerhouse' Cork City need to have a big say in a League of Ireland restart
Cork City players Joseph Olowu, Deshane Dalling, Gearóid Morrisey and Daire O'Connor make a wall against Finn Harps in a league game at the end of February. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

CORK City chairman Declan Carey insists that the club’s voice will be heard in discussions as to how to restart the SSE Airtricity League.

City and the rest of the clubs in the league have been in discussions with the FAI regarding the resumption of action if and when that’s possible, with a number of solutions mooted. Carey is keen to ensure that City will have their say.

“There has been a lot of speculation going on with the FAI and we’ve been part of a lot of meetings but there is no firm decision,” he said.

“It’s an ever-evolving situation with the different phases and the plans the government have put out there.
“We’re staying very close to it, we’re key stakeholder in this. Make no mistake, we’re the biggest club in the country in terms of our brand and attendances when things are going well.

“There isn’t a club in the country matching our fundraising efforts or engagement with fans online and our merchandise sales, I’d be very confident of that.

“We’re still a powerhouse as far as I’m concerned and we’ll definitely make our voices heard when it comes time to take a vote on the league’s direction.”

While there is no income in terms of gate receipts – and Carey wouldn’t comment on payment arrangements for staff – City are pleased with how things are moving on the commercial front during the lockdown.

“Things are moving along positively,” he said.

“The merchandise has really exploded, the red away jersey has been incredibly popular and we’ve been able to focus our efforts on things like fundraising.

“The Patreon scheme, with the online streaming every week, has been a huge success too and it provides steady income coming into the club. We had our doubts that it might take off but it has been very positive and we still have a trickle of new subscriptions coming in every week.

“We have a fully catalogue of more than 150 live games that have been donated and digitised by my brother, Trevor Carey. Then there are the ‘live’ updates on a Friday by Aaron Howey, which are brilliant."

While takeover talks with Trevor Hemmings’ Grovemoor Ltd remain on the back-burner, the club have been canvassing members’ views, with Carey pleased at the level of response to a recent poll.

“Are Grovemoor still interested in a takeover proposal? Absolutely,” he says.

A general view outside Turner's Cross, the home of Cork City FC and the Munster FA. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
A general view outside Turner's Cross, the home of Cork City FC and the Munster FA. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

“We’ve had that confirmation from them but we’re waiting for that proposal to come and we’ll review it and put it to members if we feel that it’s worth what’s on paper.

“We did a survey of members recently to get insight, we have over 600 and we felt it was important that they had a voice. The board has to act in the best interests of the members and there was a huge response. That was good and we’re still going through the comments and feedback.

“It’s obvious that members care about this topic deeply. It’s a hugely sensitive one for many sides. Our first and foremost priority is to keep the club alive and well and make sure it doesn’t get into a precarious position like it has in the past.”

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