THE annual general meeting of Foras, the supporters’ trust that runs Cork City, has been set for March 22, with fears that losses for the past year are greater than expected.
Prior to Christmas, it was reported that City were headed for a loss of approximately €400,000 but audited accounts are likely to paint a bleaker picture. Unexpected items such as Revenue settlements are to be factored in and the club are left counting the cost of failing to meet ambitious budgetary targets.
In late 2018, the outgoing Foras board had budgeted for an average home attendance of more than 4,000 for the season ahead but the actual figure in a disappointing 2019 campaign was a little over 2,000 while there was only one European home game, against Progrès Niederkorn of Luxembourg.
While City did part company with manager John Caulfield and his assistant John Cotter during 2019, neither event incurred additional outlay as both were contracted to the end of the year and those contracts were effectively seen out.
The knock-on effect for the current season is that City have had to cut back in all areas, with current manager, Neale Fenn’s budget for 2020 for players and management only around half of the €1.2m which was available to Caulfield in 2019, down slightly from the 2018 figure, which came off the back of the historic double-winning season.
While the AGM will proceed as normal and the club continue to operate to the more stringent budgets, behind the scenes the first movements towards a takeover by Trevor Hemmings are expected to take next week when City personnel meet the businessman’s representatives.
Sources close to City are keen to make clear that any takeover would be by Hemmings in a personal capacity and not part of a move to make City a feeder club to Preston North End, which is also owned by Hemmings’ company, Grovemore Ltd.
City return to Turner’s Cross tomorrow night as Finn Harps visit for an SSE Airtricity League Premier Division clash. Manager Fenn admits it is a concern that City have yet to score in the league, but feels context must be applied given that two of their three games have been away to Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk.
“Am I worried? Yeah, I want to win every game 5-0 or 6-0,” he says.
“But you have to have a bit of perspective. Two of the games have been against Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk, will many teams go there and score? They’re tough games.
“We would liked to have beaten Shelbourne at home and been more clinical, created more chances, we didn’t do well enough in that game.
“Am I hugely concerned? No, I’ve belief in our squad that we have goals in us and have attacking threats.”