Cork City board propose acceptance of Dermot Usher takeover bid

Members of Foras will vote on December 4: 'This will be the right decision for our football club' according to chairman Declan Carey
Cork City board propose acceptance of Dermot Usher takeover bid

Cork City supporters at Turner's Cross. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Cork City chairperson Declan Carey believes that the acceptance of a takeover proposal from businessman Dermot Usher is "the right decision" for the Rebel Army.

On Thursday morning, it was revealed that the board of management of Foras (Friends of the Rebel Army Society), the supporters' trust which runs City, had been in discussions with various parties in recent times. Usher, who says that City deserve to be back competing for trophies, has had a bid provisionally accepted. It is subject to a vote of the members at a special meeting on Sunday, December 4.

Until October, Grovemoor had had a call option on purchasing City, approved by a vote of shareholders in October 2020, but the company, which had been owned by the late Trevor Hemmings, revealed that it would not be taking up that option.

Usher previously led Sonas Bathrooms, which he sold in 2021, though he remains as a non-executive director. He would assume sole ownership of the club, though Foras would receive a sum of money that would allow it to continue in its role as guardians of the club.

With City back in the Premier Division for 2023 - Foras informed the FAI of the impending takeover during the licensing process for next season - the ambition under Usher would be to qualify for European competition as well as investing into the women's side of the club.

Full-time marketing executive and director of football roles would be created, while there would be a commitment to work with the owners of Turner's Cross Stadium, the Munster Football Association, with regard to its redevelopment. In addition, there would be a commitment to end all gambling-related sponsorship of the club.

PASSIONATE

Declan Carey said: "The board will be strongly advocating for a sale and we will be communicating our reasoning in full over the coming weeks and on the night of the Special General Meeting. We've met with Dermot and heard what he has to say.

"He is passionate about the League of Ireland but critically has the business knowledge, experience, and personal wealth to back up his ambitions for our football club. 

This will be the right decision for our football club."

That view is backed up by club treasurer Conor Hallahanm who feels outside investment is necessary for the club's growth.

"Anyone who has attended our AGMs in recent years will know the attention to detail this board has paid to the club's finances and we have been pretty rigorous in making tough decisions to improve our financial position," he said.

"However, even with the changes we have made, the club is becoming more and more difficult to manage from a financial perspective. Costs have increased across the club and we expect further increases in the coming years. External investment is now required to allow the club to grow in a sustainable manner.

"We have analysed Dermot's plan and conducted our due diligence. His plans are prudent and align with our vision for the club. They will enable us to compete at the right end of the League of Ireland, whilst also continuing to support our player development policies. We owe it to ourselves to back the sale and secure the funding for the next chapter of our club's history."

Cork City FC celebrated their league win at SoHo: Éanna Buckley (Chief Operating Officer), Dave Alton (Director), Sean McCarthy (Owner, SoHo) and Declan Carey (Chairman). Picture: Colm Lougheed
Cork City FC celebrated their league win at SoHo: Éanna Buckley (Chief Operating Officer), Dave Alton (Director), Sean McCarthy (Owner, SoHo) and Declan Carey (Chairman). Picture: Colm Lougheed

Dermot Usher, describing himself as being passionate about sport all his life and an avid League of Ireland fan, believes it to be a great opportunity for all parties

"Since I sold my business in 2021, I have been looking to contribute more to football in this country," he said.

Having spoken to the board of management and others around the league, Cork City is such an exciting opportunity for everyone involved.

"Foras, under fan ownership, have done the club proud over the past 12 years. I just hope they will now give me the chance to bring the club to the next level. I will always aim to over-deliver and will look to grow every area of the club including the academy and women's teams, and also working with the community.

"I understand how difficult times have been under different owners in past, but I promise I will do everything possible to make your football club successful and competing at the right end of the League of Ireland. I have committed the financial support to make this happen.

"This club deserves to be competing for trophies and that is exactly what I want to achieve. I look forward to meeting everyone and discussing my plans over the coming weeks."

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