FOUR parties have submitted expressions of interest in Dundalk FC with former Lilywhites manager Sean McCaffrey rumoured be part of an Ulster based consortium interested in taking over the club from current owner Gerry Matthews.
Speculation over the weekend suggests that the group, said to be based in the Cavan and Monaghan region, are fronted by McCaffrey, who left his position as first team manager at Oriel Park in July following a string of poor results.
The other interested groups are the DFC Community Trust, a local consortium, including members of Fastfix, and one other party who have yet to be identified, although they are also said to be from the region.
Speaking on Sunday, Dundalk FC General Manager Paul Johnston said he was unaware of a McCaffrey backed submission and added that it would be unfair to discuss the specifics of each offer.
“I don’t know about Sean”, he said. “That’s the first time I’ve heard about that but on all of these expressions we’ve stated that they will be private and confidential and the groups themselves have stated that they want it to be private and confidential. We will respect that until the process ends.
“Four very credible, and very viable, expressions of interest have come in. There have been other enquiries but we are looking at the four expressions at the minute. We’ll be looking to move on those and touch base with the people involved. We are quite happy with what has come back and we are now looking to start negotiations on the process.”
“There are different bits of information that the club will need and that the interested parties will need from us. We will be looking to get things done as quickly as possible. We’d like it to get it completed quite quickly as we need to look at next year.”
Johnston also revealed that some of the parties have shown an interest in taking on the Youth Development Centre along with the football side of things.
“There are different permutations. There are three different aspects that went up in the offer. There are groups who are interested in the YDC as well as the club but those expressions are confidential.
“We feel they are four genuine offers”, he added. “I couldn’t imagine someone going to go out of their way to put a detailed letter together to express an interest in the club without it being serious.”
Johnston also paid tribute to the work of the Dundalk FC supporters in recent weeks. It was only weeks ago that the club’s future was at stake but the fans have rallied behind the cause, organising a number of fundraisers which have helped the club through a turbulent period.
“We’re delighted with the response. We were in a very difficult situation and we still are – there are shortfalls if you look through the financial planning – but all the groups involved have come together and galavanized the support. The enthusiasm and work ethic that the fans have put in has been very encouraging”.