Club Update from Board of Management
2022 First Division Champions
Following a 2-year project coming to fruition our players lifted the League of Ireland First Division trophy aloft in Turner’s Cross last Friday evening in front of a packed Turner’s Cross of 5,500 supporters. The Board, club staff, coaches, and players wish to thank every one of you for supporting us over what was a challenging but ultimately successful two years.
Speaking today, chairman Declan Carey said “As a voluntary board member now for 5 years, it’s amazing to see all the hard work pay off from the entire board, staff, coaches and shareholders – all of whom are true supporters of this club. I’ve been going to games since I was 12 years old, and the last few years have been a challenge but one of the most rewarding in terms of seeing the club go from the depths of despair to back to where we belong with the bigger clubs in Ireland.”
Cork City FC captain, Cian Coleman tweeted: “It’s hard to put the last few days into words. I feel absolutely honoured to be a part of this team and this club. Thanks to everyone for the support all season and a special night on Friday. City are back.”
This was all achieved through careful planning with our manager which enabled the club to gain promotion as champions with the 3rd highest budget in the First Division. This is a testament to Colin’s strong player recruitment and importantly the ability and progression of our academy graduates over the past number of years, which the club has purposefully invested heavily in and which we will continue to invest into the future.
We will once again develop such a strategy with planning for next season well underway. The club will be making further announcements around the management and playing squad, jersey launch, season tickets, and sponsorship over the coming days and weeks.
Next year will be a different challenge, but it will be an incredibly exciting season. We will have a young squad of hungry and ambitious players who are eager to perform against some of the best players in the country. The first year back will be demanding, but one which we are ready for as a club, and we are looking forward to hosting Premier Division football in 2023.
Proposed Takeover: Grovemoor Ltd
The Board of Management of Cork City FC wishes to confirm that the executors of Trevor Hemmings Estate have informed the Board of Management that they are not in a position to complete the purchase of Cork City FC at the present time. The Call-Option was agreed between the sitting Board of Management and Grovemoor representatives, and exists due to Grovemoor’s cash injection in February 2020 which enabled Cork City FC to gain a license to compete in the 2020 League of Ireland Premier Division.
In an attempt to assist, Grovemoor have agreed with the Board of Management that Cork City FC can explore other options for financial investment and if and when this is identified, Grovemoor would be happy to discuss the basis under which their ‘Option to Purchase’ would be surrendered. Their decision now allows the Board of Management to engage with other parties about investing in the club, and to do so from a position of strength, without the duress of being in a financially negative position.
Based on a review of the economic conditions and investment into other clubs within the League of Ireland, the Board of Management believes that if Cork City FC is to compete regularly for trophies at the top end of Irish football and reach its full potential, that we have little choice but to explore the possibility of securing outside investment from the right person(s). As always, we will conduct our due diligence and only seriously engage with genuine investors who demonstrate that they have the financial capacity, and the best interests of Cork City FC at the forefront of their decision-making.
Grovemoor have over the last few seasons provided a ‘back-stop’ / guaranteed cash cushion to be drawn down if required by Cork City FC. To date this provision has not been needed but as a Board we have been given assurances that such cash cushion will continue to be available for the coming season’, providing the club with an added layer of financial security, which will be helpful given the adjustment period we will have during our return to competing in the Premier Division.
Cork City FC Board member, Dave Alton, said: “It is of course a source of frustration that the ownership situation has not yet been fully resolved. All parties entered into the call-option agreement in good faith, but with the passage of time a number of issues have presented themselves that have prevented an ultimate resolution around the takeover, namely the sad passing of Grovemoor’s owner, Trevor Hemmings.
Nevertheless, the Board’s decision to initially enter into the agreement with Grovemoor, and the subsequent ratification of the call-option agreement by our shareholders was and still remains to be the correct decision, with our club being in a much stronger financial position as a result.
Fundamentally as a club and Board of Management we must now proceed with the running of the football club under the fan-ownership business model, whilst we are always looking at the potential for new revenue generation and prudent opportunities for investment. Of course, any decision taken by us as a Board will always be guided by the views of the shareholders of Cork City FC.”
FORAS Membership & Club Management
The FORAS membership will re-open Tuesday of next week and new members can sign-up to become a shareholder of Cork City FC. All monies generated from shareholder membership fees are reinvested directly into our senior playing squads and academy, whilst all shareholders will have the opportunity to view, question, critique, and give their opinion on the running of the club at the next EGM.
Further, a number of members of the sitting Board members will be stepping down over the coming weeks and we will be seeking FORAS members to put themselves up for election at the upcoming FORAS EGM, the details of which will be released shortly to all FORAS shareholders.
The club is in a net asset position financially, and it is indeed a very exciting time for the football club with our impending return to Premier Division football. With that, fresh faces and ideas are needed on the Board of Management, and we fully believe that a churn of Board members at this time is best in the medium-term interests of the football club. We will be presenting a budget to all shareholders at the EGM which is in-line with our policy and current strategy for the sustainable growth of the football club.
Importantly, all retiring Board members will ensure an orderly transition and proper handover occurs, whilst newly elected Board members will be subject to oversight from the clubs independent Audit, Risk, and Compliance Committee which have been working closely with the Board for the past number of months for the purposes of establishing a consistency of approach and maintenance of tacit knowledge within the Board of the football club.
Front of Shirt Sponsorship
Cork City FC is currently seeking a new official jersey sponsor for both the men’s and women’s team shirts.
While University College Cork has partnered with Cork City since 2014 and will continue to do so up until 2028, the opportunity to become the clubs Official Jersey Sponsor is now available, offering premium advertising and marketing space on the men’s and women’s team’s shirts and the opportunity to be part of one of Ireland’s largest clubs. The shirts are manufactured by worldwide leading sports and teamwear manufacturer adidas.
The club sells over 5000 shirts per year in local and national retailers including Elvery’s, Sports Direct and Cummins Sports. The men’s and women’s teams will play over 70 matches nationally in 2023 in front of an average home attendance of 3000+ spectators weekly. Since 2020, all matches are live streamed and available globally via the FAI’s online platform.
Chairman Declan Carey said: “It’s a huge opportunity for a potential partner. It has to be the right fit. We are a fan-owned club, heavily involved in local community initiatives and are proud of our all-inclusive and diversity ethos. We have national teams playing in all age-groups available to us, including boys and girls academy, amputee team and men’s and women’s senior teams.”
“Our partnership with UCC will continue on and we have formed a strong bond with the university over the last 8 years. We have an opportunity now to grow a new relationship with a new partner.”
“Our recent growth has seen attendances increase and also drive strong merchandise sales. Our own outlet in Douglas Village Shopping Centre is a fantastic hub for the club and our online sales are always increasing.”
In 2022, Cork City FC appointed club legend and UEFA A-Licensed coach Danny Murphy as head coach of the women’s team and also utilised the services of a local consultancy firm to help restructure the women’s section of the club.
“We felt empowered to do this. The growth in women’s football is there for all to see. We owe it to ourselves to get ahead of this so that we can help develop the next generation of players here locally and ensure we have a quality home for the top women’s footballers in Cork and Munster. UEFA’s report on women’s football show 1 in 3 fans of the women’s game are completely new to football. Women’s football is expected to see a six-fold increase in its commercial value over the next decade,” Declan added.
Early last week the Munster FA announced that they have contracted the services of Pure Fitout to redesign the dressing rooms of Turner’s Cross, along with other exciting projects. This is in-line with both of our organisations joint efforts at making stadium improvements to Turner’s Cross. As previously announced over the coming months both Cork City FC and the Munster FA will establish a Stadium Development Group which will allow us to pursue further Sports Capital Grants and other funding options, thereby jointly contributing to the improvement of Turner’s Cross for both fans and players ahead of our return to the Premier Division in 2022.
We will have further announcements around the men’s first-team, boys academy, women’s first-team and girls academy, and other areas of the club over the coming days and weeks.
Thanks for this season and enjoy the ongoing celebrations.
Declan, Garrett, Conor, Colm, John Paul & Dave.