Cork City still in talks about takeover as League of Ireland targets August return

Cork City still in talks about takeover as League of Ireland targets August return
The Cork City flag flying at Turner's Cross. Picture: Barry Cregg/SPORTSFILE

CORK City chairman Declan Carey has confirmed that discussions remain ongoing between the club and Trevor Hemmings’ Grovemoor Ltd with regard to a possible takeover.

While the Covid-19 outbreak has naturally slowed the pace of any negotiations, the lines of communication are still open and a proposal is likely to be put to the membership of Foras, the supporters’ trust which runs City.

There is a growing likelihood of the League of Ireland returning in August following a fruitful meeting between the FAI and clubs on Thursday, with an improved financial package proposed.

Picture: INPHO/Ciaran Culligan
Picture: INPHO/Ciaran Culligan

City are unable to comment on those developments, but Carey is pleased with other club activities, not least the talks with Grovemoor.

“We’ve remained in positive dialogue with them over the past few months,” he said.

“Grovemoor as a company has had a lot to be dealing with, it owns Trabolgan for instance and that was closed. They’ve been impacted and Preston were close to being in the Championship play-offs. 

"Before the crisis a team from Grovemoor were scheduled to have several meetings with us in Cork, and that obviously couldn’t happen but we’ve remained in contact digitally.

“These things have an impact and it does slow things down but Mr Hemmings has assured us that he and Grovemoor still very much interested in putting a proposal to our membership on a possible takeover.

“We hope it’s one that our members will appreciate when it comes and that they’ll give it the right level of thought that it needs and deserves.

“We’re not going to rush into any decisions with this and it’s going to be carefully assessed. If it does come to fruition, it will be because of the members’ wishes and nobody else. They have to vote this through and we’ve always done what the membership wants.

“We undertook a survey recently and we’re positive that we’re moving along with this in the right direction. Grovemoor are currently working with us and we hope something can be put in front of our members once we are physically able to do so.” 

Similarly, joint efforts with the Munster Football Association with regard to the sale of naming rights to Turner’s Cross are continuing in the background and Carey has been pleased with the progress made.

“The MFA have obviously been impacted by all of this as well,” he says.

“We had been planning for the selling of the naming rights pre-Covid-19 but it’s more important now. As businesses are starting to reopen, we’re confident of something happening in the next few months, and hopefully before the start of the 2021 season.

“We’ve had some good leads on it so far and we’ve been dealing with some intermediaries as well because the companies involved are blue-chip businesses. We appreciate sponsors of any kind but this is a bigger deal and has national coverage so you’re naturally going to come across companies with a national reach.

“They tend to have huge commercial departments and these things take time, they’re not sorted in one or two meetings. Things are progressing well and the news got great coverage when we put it out that this was available.”

Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

 

Ultimately, Carey has been delighted with the support the club has received from its stakeholders during this testing time.

“The Foras members have made great efforts,” he says.

“There are just some great random acts of kindness – some I couldn’t go into but we had one supporter last week who donated a huge number of pin badges that he had collected, he gave them to us for nothing to sell in the online shop. 

“It’s very motivating for us. We have had a tough time on the board, but all six of us are up for the challenge and will do everything we can for Cork City Football Club – we’re not in it for an easy ride and we know it’s going to be difficult but it’s brilliant to get the backing of the membership and the staff and players. We’re all working together as one club, and that’s an incredibly positive thing to see and experience.

“Our commercial partners, who have been with the club for years, have been very understanding and we’ve tried to help them as much as we can, and they’ve tried to help us. We don’t treat businesses as sponsors, they are partners.”

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