It has been a turbulent time for everyone involved with Cork City.
The Munster side have been relegated to the First Division following a disastrous season. They recently sacked manager Neale Fenn and lost the services of Daire O’Connor, with more outgoings expected soon enough.
It wasn’t only a hectic time on the pitch but off the pitch too.
The club had to decide whether they wanted to sell the club to Preston North End’s owner Trevor Hemmings and his company Grovemoor Ltd.
This decision wasn’t taken lightly and was out to a vote between FORAS members, the supporters trust that runs the club.
The result of this vote has come out in favour of the sale.
The Board of Management of FORAS confirmed the result of the vote was carried by 69.8% to 30.2%, a very comprehensive decision.
Grovemoor Ltd now has the option to buy Cork City Football Club for €1. This would see them take on the existing debt at the club, that is reported to be in the region of €200,000.
That may not seem like much in the grand scheme of things when talking about modern football. But it’s a figure that FORAS can’t pay off on their own, the fact they aren’t generating any matchday revenue doesn’t help that.
Apparently, all this financial trouble would have made it difficult for Cork to receive a license to play in the First Division next season. Simply put if this vote didn’t go in favour of the sale, we probably wouldn’t have a Cork City next season.
Say what you want about them just starting another club, but it would be a crying shame not to have Cork City in our league.
Cork is the second biggest city in the country, and they need a club in the League of Ireland. They were our champions only back in 2017. We need big clubs like Cork dotted around the country to keep the league going.
Some Fan Apprehension
It’s believed that Grovemoor has committed and will now work with Cork City and begin the cash flow that is needed.
Despite all of this you still have some Cork fans that are unsure about this decision.
Clubs take a lot of pride in being ran by the fans. It has a community feel and certain Cork fans feel they will lose this with new owners coming in.
Again, certain Cork fans feel that the plans going forward are somewhat unclear. That Hemmings hasn’t made definitive plans crystal clear to the people involved with Cork City.
In fairness Grovemoor have said they won’t make unrealistic promises. That they simply want this club to reach their full potential. With a real emphasis on returning to the Premier Division at the first time of asking.
While some think Trevor Hemmings may use Cork City as a feeder club to his bigger team Preston. That really shouldn’t be an issue on people’s minds.
Any young players that are good enough to go abroad will go anyway. For the most part, that players home club won’t get properly financially rewarded for that.
Best For Business
It could be a good partnership between both clubs that could also benefit Cork. Preston players could come into Cork whether that be on loan or on a permanent deal.
It’s natural to have concerns when a new owner arrives. This was a decision that really had to be made to secure the future of Cork City. FORAS took the club as far as they could since taking control in 2010. They need financial help now more than ever.
Hemmings is a very wealthy man and the current debt at the club would be peanuts to him. Once that is dealt with and a secure plan is put in place in terms of the infrastructure of the club, that is all Cork fans will want to see.
Really this has saved the final nail going into the coffin of Cork City. The club just about came back from the brink of extinction earlier this year but quite possibly wouldn’t have done so this time around.
Apprehension is normal in these situations. Cork fans it’s time to see this as a necessary decision and the start of hopefully a bright future.
You will still have a club to call your own, no owner will ever take that away from any supporters.
Hopefully, the building process begins next season with a swift return to the Premier Division where you belong.
Cork United, Cork Hibernians, Cork Celtic, Cork Athletic and Cork Bohemians are just some of the clubs that have all come and gone. This vote hopefully secures the future of this iteration of Cork City.
Cork City have said they talked with Grovemoor Ltd on the matter and further comment will be made soon.