Grovemoor keen to keep local influence on Cork City FC board

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Preston's owners look set to take control of Cork City.
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Denis Hurley

Cork City chairman Declan Carey is optimistic that Foras can continue to play a part in the running of the club if and when Grovemoor Ltd complete a takeover.

On Wednesday night, almost 70 percent of the members of Foras, the supporters’ trust which runs City, voted in favour of allowing Grovemoor – owned by Preston North End owner Trevor Hemmings – to exercise a call-option to allow it assume ownership.

Foras has been in charge since the beginning of 2010, a period encompassing one Premier Division title, two FAI Cups, and a First Division win, but recent financial problems meant that the club was close to going out of business in February this year.

After Preston agreed to buy out City’s sell-on clauses for Alan Browne and Seán Maguire, further discussions led to the possibility of a takeover, culminating in Wednesday’s remotely-held meeting. While many fans were sad to be ceding control, the consensus was that Grovemoor represented the best available option.

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If Grovemoor do complete the deal, Foras will no longer have control but Carey is hopeful that the trust can still play an important role.

“We’re confident that something like that will come to fruition,” he said.

“We don’t know what the make-up of that will be but Grovemoor have said that they’re conscious that they need local knowledge and a Cork influence on their future board and the make-up of their advisors.

“We’ll help them with this if needed and I’m sure they’ll have other outside expertise based in Cork due to the other business interests in the region. We’ll tease that out over the next couple of weeks.

“Foras as an entity will still exist. That was very important for us as a board when we were under serious time constraints to put the call-option agreement together. That was crucial for us and we didn’t want to rush it through, we wanted to make sure Foras would still exist no matter what way this played out.”

One of Grovemoor’s first tasks will be to appoint a new manager to guide City as they look to bounce back from this year’s relegation. It’s believed that Foras will recommend the candidacy of Colin Healy, who was installed on an interim role earlier this month in the wake of Neale Fenn’s departure.

Meanwhile, it’s also likely that the new owners will examine the possibility of purchasing Turner’s Cross from the Munster Football Association.

“We expect that they will engage with the MFA as soon as possible,” Carey said.

“We have a great relationship with the MFA and we’re happy to leverage our support in those discussions.

“We fully expect that to start pretty soon. Grovemoor will engage with all of our key stakeholders, contractors, sponsors, and key partners over the coming days. The process is well in flight, so it’s all systems go.

“We’ll be very busy over the coming weeks but, at least now from our end, we’re honouring the members’ wishes first of all and there’s light at the end of the tunnel for the long-term future of the club and financial security.

“We can rest easy after a tough two-to-three-year period.”

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