Former boss John Caulfield felt the new Cork City Board were too in-experienced and that not all of them wanted him as manager 

In his new book ‘Rebel Heart’ former Cork City manager John Caulfield highlights the difficulties he faced during his time as manager of the club.
Former boss John Caulfield felt the new Cork City Board were too in-experienced and that not all of them wanted him as manager 

Cork City manager Colin Healy and Galway United manager John Caulfield during the SSE Airtricity first division game at Turners Cross

IN his new book ‘Rebel Heart’ former Cork City manager John Caulfield highlights the difficulties he faced during his time as manager of the club. At the beginning of 2019, Cork City elected six new members to a seven-person board and Caulfield highlights the challenges he faced with this change in his book.

“At the AGM in January, six new members were voted on the seven-person board of Cork City. 

"The new board had a different profile. It was a younger board, for instance, with two 27-year-olds on it. In football terms, it was like scrapping your first-team squad and putting your under-19s into the first-team and saying… ‘We’ll let them develop’.

“The only one who remained from the previous board was Declan Carey, who had joined the previous year. Carey was voted in as chairman at the AGM in January. 

"You would imagine that a newly appointed chairman should meet with the manager as soon as possible. Pat Lyons and I met every second week. "But Carey and I didn’t have our first meeting until a few weeks later. I felt that, from that moment the new board was formed that not everybody wanted me as manager.

“In PREVIOUS YEARS, I would meet with the board once on average once a month. At the meetings, there would be questions and answers about the first-team and the football operations at the club.

“My first meeting with the new board wasn’t until April 23 - three months after they were elected. 

Pat Lyons, chair of Cork City FC and FORAS; John Caulfield, team manager and Tim Lucey, Cork County Council chief executive; enjoying the civic reception in Cork County Hall hosted by Cllr Declan Hurley, Mayor of the County of Cork, to recognise the accomplishments of the double-winning Cork City FC team and the Cork City Women's FC team, winners of the FAI Cup in 2017. Picture: David Keane.
Pat Lyons, chair of Cork City FC and FORAS; John Caulfield, team manager and Tim Lucey, Cork County Council chief executive; enjoying the civic reception in Cork County Hall hosted by Cllr Declan Hurley, Mayor of the County of Cork, to recognise the accomplishments of the double-winning Cork City FC team and the Cork City Women's FC team, winners of the FAI Cup in 2017. Picture: David Keane.

"It may seem strange but I genuinely don’t think the new board understood that they had to meet regularly with the manager. I’m not sure they were given the correct information.

“The meeting came a day after we drew 0-0 with Sligo Rovers at Turner’s Cross on Easter Monday. 

"After 12 games into the season, we had 12 points and we were mid-table.

“I got a call to say the board meeting was going to be that evening. I had no relationship with them, and I was in the final year of my deal. 

"I went into the meeting thinking that maybe the board would ask me to step down.

“Carey was very direct from the beginning. He told me results weren’t good enough, that fans weren’t happy. 

"The crowds were down, he continued.

“Carey had been on the board the year before, when none of the other members were, and he’d never been all that vocal. 

"He barely said a word, that I could remember. Now though, he was saying plenty.

“I was told that they were having problems with cashflow and the club was in debt to the tune of approximately €130,000. 

"My view was that I was there to help them. I knew it was difficult for the board. They were already being criticised by supporters and I could sense they felt pressure.

“To me, however, it didn’t seem like they knew what they were doing. 

Former Cork City manager John Caulfield with the late Finbarr O'Shea.
Former Cork City manager John Caulfield with the late Finbarr O'Shea.

"I had experience, they didn’t, but they almost treated me like… Oh, he’s just a football manager.

“I was writing, taking notes of what they said, and after a few minutes when there was a bit of calmness, I asked how much of the debt was due immediately? 

"I was told: “The 130 grand isn’t all due now!”. Only €80,000 was due. They then said the crowds were down at Turner’s Cross. I had to budget for the gates.

“One of the members asked, ‘Do you think we can turn it around?’ ‘Absolutely!” I told him.” 

Caulfield was in charge for two more games as City manager before being dismissed by the club.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more