DUNDALK FC Financial Director Ciaran Bond has again outlined just how important Saturday’s fundraiser between Dundalk Legends and Liverpool Legends is to the direction the club will take next season.
A drop in sponsorship, coupled with a sharp decline in attendances – there were only 850 present for the game with UCD at Oriel Park on Friday night - have seen Dundalk’s finances hit hard this season.
To put it into context, attendances for the last two home games would not even cover the running costs of the club for a single week.
Because of this, Saturday’s glamour friendly has taken on even more importance and Bond is calling on the people of the town – and not just Dundalk fans – to come out help the club in their current plight.
“It’s a big event for the club and probably the most important fundraiser we have this season”, said Bond in an interview with LMFM Sport.
“People need to take stock and take into account what’s happening with the finances at the club. Tonight we had a gate that took in about €3,500. Against Bohemians two weeks ago we took in €8,000. That’s for a club that’s burning up to €15,000 a week. Anybody who can do their maths will see that it’s not adding up.
“When you consider that, the fundraising is essential to try and make up the difference in that shortfall. It’s important that supporters of the club and the wider public in the town purchase a ticket. They are available throughout the town and at very reasonable prices at €10 per adult and €5 for an Under-14.”
The current financial difficulties at the club meant that Ian Foster’s playing budget could not be increased for the July transfer window. Bond said it was a difficult – but necessary - decision that had to be taken by the club’s board.
“Without a shadow of a doubt we would have increased it if we could have”, he said. “If we were being really prudent we would have reduced it but I think that would have been very detrimental to the performance of the team at this stage of the season. We wouldn’t have been giving Ian a fair chance.”
Bond said that the club were currently running at a loss but he was hopeful that the Liverpool game would bring it back “on a par with breaking even, or not far from it”.
With regards the future, he said difficult decisions would have to be made.
“We have to look seriously at where we will be this time next year. Attendances, and the the weekly income coming into the club will have to be looked at really carefully to determine where we go next season.
Where cut backs a possibility for 2012?
“Very much so”, he said. “In the latter part of the season, gates are significantly less than what they are at the beginning of the season. Unless we get a good FAI Cup run, we will seriously have to consider everything. I wouldn’t like to think that there will be cut backs for next season but we have to be practical, we have to be prudent and we have to be wise.
“The most important thing is that Dundalk Football Club is here for a very long time. I don’t think we should be taking a risk or gambling on the club’s future.”
Bond did provide assurances that Dundalk were not in a similar position to clubs like Galway United, who were forced to release all of their professional players after finding themselves unable to pay the players’ wages.
“There’s no bother with that respect. To put it mildly, there has been a serious loss in revenue from attendances which is very hard to claw back. But there is no fear that this is a Galway United case. The players will be paid every week and we have enough money to see us through to the end of the season. But at the end of the campaign the club will have to take serious decisions in terms of the future.
“We’re not very worried but we’d have to consider that in the next two to three months serious decisions need to be made.”
One source of income for the club this season has been the prize-money generated from the Setanta Cup run. The final took place in March but Bond stated that the club were still waiting to receive the money from the FAI.
“We’re due to a fee of between €25-€35k from the FAI for the prize-money won in the Setanta Cup”, he said. “There are ongoing negotiations about that but we would hope that it is forthcoming. There is no problem with it. The costs associated with the final and the sponsorship money have to go through first before we get our end of it.”