DUNDALK FC owner Gerry Matthews spoke at length with LMFM’s Gerry Malone on Monday night about the club’s current financial position.
Matthews discussed a number of issues surrounding the club, including the failure to pay last week’s wages, the possibility of a takeover and Sean McCaffrey’s playing budget.
The club owner confirmed that “financially the club is not in a very healthy position” but said that the players would be paid this week’s wages.
However, despite Lilywhites defender Derek Foran suggesting otherwise on Friday night, Matthews said that the squad would have to wait to get last week’s unpaid wages and that he could make no guarantees that the players would be paid over summer break.
Matthews also denied that the club were close to administration but did admit that they were running the risk of losing their better players.
“We’ve never even thought of administration and we’re not anywhere near it. With regards the players, we risk losing them if they’re not paid. We can’t expect them to play for nothing but we’re hoping to avoid a situation like that.
“Our door is always open. If people want to come in and pay Marc Griffin and Peter Cherrie’s wages until the end of the season to protect them then we would have no problem with that. Supporters have a big part to play”.
The club issued a statement last week regarding an unpaid insurance claim for the fire to an astro-turf pitch in Hiney Park last summer. Matthews said that the claim was due to be settled today (Tuesday) but the club “would not get anything like we thought we’d get”.
“We get a settlement from the insurance tomorrow and the money will come straight away so we’ll know if that will allow us to pay the wages for two weeks, four weeks or six weeks.”
Further avenues for raising money were discussed at a board meeting last night. Matthews said that Chelsea’s ‘senior’ team have confirmed that they will play a friendly at Oriel Park on August 14 or 15 and that the FAI have confirmed that Irish boss Giovani Trapattoni will officially open the Youth Development Centre later in the year.
The local businessman also spoke about Sean McCaffrey’s playing budget and defended his manger’s performance to date.
“The manager can only work with the tools he is given. Sean McCaffrey is working on a restricted budget. He presented players to us at different times but the money they were demanding was too much.”
Matthews also claimed that the budget at the latter part of last season was 8.5k.
“That’s a significant difference from 6k”, he said. “Secondly, if you look at the last 11 games that Ian Foster played as manager then points wise I don’t think he was any better off than the 11 games we have played here with a much reduced budget.
“Fans want the best team and manager but if they don’t turn up at games, they are penalising themselves”, he added. “They should be coming, supporting the team and manager. Supporters and fans are victims of their own creation.”
Matthews also left the door open for a renewed takeover bid from Fastfix who were in discussions about taking over the club last year. He said that the Youth Development Centre was an asset to the club and should not be seen as an obstacle by potential investors.
“The YDC is not a stumbling block. I see it as a facility that will generate funds for the club. We projected a loss on it this year. At end of year it will turn profit. It’s an asset for the club going forward.”
He also claimed that he wants a “clean break” from the club at the end of the current season.
“Last Christmas I stepped down and other people ran the club. I came back in when some concerns were raised but I want a clean break. It would be better for everybody if there is a clean break”