THE board of management of Foras, the supporters’ trust which runs Cork City, is set to face stiff questioning regarding the club’s links with Preston North End at the upcoming AGM.
The club on Thursday confirmed reports earlier that City officials had met with their Preston counterparts and come to an agreement worth approximately €500,000 to surrender sell-on clauses which Preston would have had to pay if former City players Seán Maguire and Alan Browne were to move on.
There were suggestions that these could lead to a link-up between the clubs but while it is it believed that such a formal relationship is unlikely, Preston are also likely to sign talented City teenager Harry Nevin in the summer.
Nevin, a talented Douglas GAA player as well who starred for the Cork U14 hurlers in the 2018 Tony Forristal competition, netted on his Republic of Ireland U16 debut in January.
In a statement to Foras members, the City board denied that the business was necessitated as a result of a tax settlement and said that a further statement was due in the near future regarding the club's position.
City fans have questioned the manner in which the information was initially circulated, with former Foras chairman John O’Sullivan and Jonathan O’Brien expressing dissatisfaction on social media that members were not kept abreast of any developments.
While Foras members would have to vote on any change in the club’s ownership structure or any official tie to Preston, transfer dealings are dealt with by the board. The Foras AGM takes place on Thursday, March 5 at the Metropole Hotel.
On the pitch, City get their SSE Airtricity League Premier Division campaign underway tonight as Shelbourne visit Turner’s Cross (7.45pm). Manager Neale Fenn wants a positive start but, despite the fact that away games against Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk followe, he won’t be jumping to drastic conclusions either way.
“We never get too high if we win or too low if we lose,” he said.
“If we win Friday, great, but we don’t think we’re going to win the league. At the same time, if we lose, we don’t think we’re going to get relegated. Football’s not like that so we have to believe in what we’re doing, put in a good performance and show a good work-rate.
“If you do that, the fans will start showing a bit of confidence in the team.”
It’s Shels’ first time back in the top flight since 2013, a different scenario to Fenn’s time with City as a player.
“When I was playing, they were our biggest rivals,” he said.
“Cork City and Shelbourne were massive games so I’m sure this’ll reignite that and they’ll bring a big crowd down from Dublin. I’m sure we’ll have a big crowd as well cheering us on."