THE board of management of Cork City has distanced itself from a payment made to the recently re-signed Steven Beattie.
Earlier on Thursday, it was revealed that former City general manager Paul Wycherley is among those involved in a consortium of Cork business people who has made a donation to Beattie, designed to augment his wages with the club.
Beattie, who won the league title with City in 2017 as well as two FAI Cup medals, left the club at the end of 2018 to join American side Chattanooga Red Wolves but his re-signing was announced earlier this month.
The acquisition was considered a coup for City, who will compete in the SSE Airtricity League First Division following last year’s relegation, and it has been confirmed that his earnings have been supplemented by a one-off financial gift – entirely tax-compliant.
The involvement of Wycherley and others comes after City supporter and former board member Damien Sreenan set up a GoFundMe effort for fans to crowd-fund Beattie’s wages. The payment is entirely independent of what City are paying the Dublin native and the club reiterated that in a statement, believing the move to be placing pressure on the board regarding the proposed takeover by Grovemoor Ltd.
“The club had no hand, nor part to play in this arrangement. Any arrangement for additional part-time employment is a matter for individual players.
“The board are also disappointed that this group has chosen to use the signing of a player as a publicity stunt to place pressure on the board of management. Since the ratification of the call option agreement with Grovemoor Ltd., we have made clear to this group on multiple occasions that we have a contractual arrangement with Grovemoor Ltd, and we will be conducting our business in the proper manner by seeing out that arrangement.”
The initial statement on behalf of the consortium regarding the payment to Beattie expressed support for City.
“The group has confirmed a financial gift to the first team player, and recent marquee signing, Steven Beattie.
“This donation was provided with the sole purpose of assisting in securing the return of Beattie as recently announced by the club. The consortium is passionate about the future of Cork City FC and has expressed this to the club’s board. The group welcomed the opportunity to support the club’s efforts to sign Beattie.”
Damien Sreenan said: “The club was hoping to sign Steven Beattie, and in discussions with Steven, I became aware that he was excited about the prospect.
“However, due to the club's financial challenges, an agreement was not possible. I made the decision to intervene with an online fundraising campaign to determine if the fans could raise the additional funds required to help get Steven back to the club and, in turn, support the club’s future success in a very real way.
“I was approached by Paul Wycherley, who was aware of my campaign. He, along with a group of Cork business people, agreed to a donation that would cover the full amount needed to secure Steven’s return to the club.
"Paul, and the consortium he represents, are passionate about the club and wanted to help in whatever way possible. Steven’s return is the best news we’ve had as fans in a long while, and I am grateful for the support from this group that made this signing a reality.”