A CORE of Cork City Foras Members are in favour of the club being sold to an outside investor.
Trevor Hemmings, of Grovemoor Ltd, who has strong Cork links through Trabolgan Holiday Village and also has an ownership stake in Preston North End, is keen to purchase the fan-owned Leeside outfit.
Following a new survey of 365 members of the fan group that currently run Cork City (which is approximately 62% of total membership of the club) the results show 45.74% considered themselves themselves very positive or fully in favour of a possible takeover.
This survey also confirmed that only 18% are either fully against or negative about a possible takeover, though the remaining 40% are undecided.
Cork City have struggled financially since the high of landing a double in 2017, and though they did reach the 2018 FAI Cup final they were well off the pace last season.
Before the Covid-19 shutdown a new-look City squad under Neale Fenn were clearly not going to be contenders for the title and were easily beaten in the early stages of the league by Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk.
The FAI have yet to finalise a format or return date for the League of Ireland and there will no return to training for any clubs outside the four involved in European competition before June 29.
The primary concerns of those undecided about the proposal are fully explained in an email distributed to club members on Tuesday evening.
The key concerns were around the concept of a clear ‘exit-strategy/succession plan’ should Grovemoor Ltd and/or the Hemming’s family seek to sell/divest their interest in the football club.
The second most prominent concern raised by members was surrounding the role of FORAS post-takeover and the potential loss of “the fans voice” with a number of respondents seeking partial ownership and/or a number of seats on a newly established Board of Management, with clear structures in place as to how the newly formed Board of Management would contribute to the running of Cork City FC.
Members looked to be presented with more information about Mr Hemmings and Grovemoor Ltd. All supporters sought to be presented with a clear business plan and sporting plan to be discussed in depth before any vote for a takeover would take place.
Clarification was sought around any official link-up between Cork City FC and Preston North End, post-takeover. In particular, a worry exists among members that Cork City FC would become a ‘feeder-club’ to Preston North End, who are also owned by Grovemoor Ltd., resulting in a loss of the club’s identity.
Another concern was whether the club would be run from Cork or the UK.
Maintaining the clubs volunteer ethos, post-takeover and community involvement came through as another major issue for current Foras members.
The development of a clear pathway through the club’s academies and how would the current plans for the Glanmire project for an extensive government-funded training centre be affected were concerns.
The continued development of Turner’s Cross is also a hot topic. The club have been looking to sell the naming rights to the Cross, in conjunction with the owners the Munster Football Association, to boost finances.