DUNDALK FC were due to hold a board meeting last night (Monday) with the issue of cutbacks to Sean McCaffrey’s back-room high up on the agenda.
Speaking after the 2-0 defeat at home to Bohemians on Friday night, McCaffrey confirmed that he had been instructed by owner Gerry Matthews and General manager Paul Johnston to pare back on his coaching staff as the club bids to cut costs.
McCaffrey said he was unhappy at the prospect of losing two members of staff but that he had no alternative but to let people go.
At present there are two goalkeeping coaches at the club, Martin Connolly and Dermot O’Neill, while first-team coach John Whyte and assistant manager Darius Kierans complete McCaffrey’s back-room team.
“We’re looking at cutting back on the staff”, said McCaffrey. “I can’t do anything about it. I was told we had to cut back so we’ll have to cut back on peoples wages and save money left right and centre. I’m not particularly happy about it but I don’t think Gerry Matthews and Paul Johnston are particularly happy about it either.”
Speaking to the Dundalk Democrat yesterday, Matthews said that McCaffrey was due to speak to his staff over the weekend with a view to making a decision by Monday.
“The decision on who to let go is not up to me. I have not fully spoken to Sean but he was due to talk to his staff on Saturday and get back to me. He has to analyse what coaches he has and decide if he can do without some of them. We haven’t made any firm rules. It’s too early to talk about compensation as it will depend on whether people are willing to leave or not”.
However the Dundalk Democrat understands that the Dundalk boss has yet to decide on who to let go, meaning that the decision could well be taken by the club’s board.
One man who has been let go is long serving kit-man Gerry Watters who gave almost 30-years of service to the club. The club’s Media Officer, Keith Wallace, also resigned from his post last week.
Last Friday night’s game with Bohemians attracted a crowd of just 600 people, leading to fears of further cutbacks.
Reports in the national media during the week suggested that McCaffrey’s playing budget was to be slashed from 6k a week to 4.5k a week but the Monaghan man said these reports were “not correct”.
Matthews also said he was hopeful that the playing budget would remain intact but he did admit that the club’s current financial situation was worrying.
“Attendances as a whole this season have not been great at all”, he said. “When you add that to our season ticket sales which went from 500 to 300 then it is very disappointing.
“The playing budget hasn’t been touched as yet. We’re hoping we don’t have to tackle that. That last thing we want to do is cut players wages. We’re putting that at the bottom of the list and hoping to make other amendments elsewhere that will help us going forward.”
Matthews also confirmed the make up of the new six man club board which will consist of Matthews, Paul Johnston, Kevin Holland, Paul Kearney, Joe McGuinness and Mark Matthews.
Matthews, the Advertising Manager with the Dundalk Democrat, is the only new face with Holland, Paul Johnston and Gerry Matthews having already held similar positions in the past.
Gerry Matthews also confirmed that both McGuinness and Kearney were also part of the set-up despite both stepping down from their posts recently.
Turning attentions back to on field matters, McCaffrey has been handed a further headache after it was revealed that Brazilian defender Hernany’s application for a work permit was turned down recently. The club have launched an appeal but McCaffrey said it would be some time before the issue is resolved.
“It’s rumbling on”, he said. “His work permit has been turned down and we’ve had to appeal it. There’s not a chance that will be sorted out soon. In terms of the player, there is not a player in this league who is as good as Hernany. He looks like a Roll Royce amongst our players in training. He’s the best in everything we do and he’ll be a massive addition.”