Cork City’s involvement with Preston could extend to full takeover

Cork City’s involvement with Preston could extend to full takeover
Sean Maguire celebrates his third goal against Levadia Tallinn during a Europa League qualifying clash in 2017. Now playing with Preston, instead of receiving a percentage of any sale price, City are to paid a cash sum.  Eddie O'Hare

Cork City’s involvement with Preston North End could extend to a full takeover by the English club, The Echo has learned.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that officials from Preston had visited Cork to meet their City counterparts.

On Thursday morning, the board of management of Foras, the supporters’ trust that owns Cork City, informed its members that an agreement had been reached for City to surrender sell-on clauses relating to former players Seán Maguire and Alan Browne, both of whom now play for Preston.

Instead of receiving a percentage of any sale price, City are to paid a cash sum.

The contact between the two clubs had been initiated by City when concerns arose over whether or not the FAI would issue the Rebel Army with a Premier Division licence for the coming season.

When discussions proved fruitful, the possibility of a formal investment arose. Preston’s owner Trevor Hemmings also owns Trabolgan Holiday Village in East Cork and has a stud farm in Kanturk and there is interest in a takeover of City.

Any such move would need to go before the membership of Foras, which currently owns 100% of the club.

The Foras AGM is scheduled to take place on Thursday, March 5 but it’s likely that an EGM will be held before then instead.

If a takeover was to be approved, Foras would retain some presence on the board of the new entity but would not own any shares.

On the pitch, City get their SSE Airtricity League Premier Division campaign underway tomorrow night 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 follow, 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 workrate.

“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.

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