DUNDALK FC General Manager Paul Johnston has confirmed that there has been a proposal put to the club’s board following the decision to invite expressions of interest in the long term lease for Oriel Park.
The club advertised the sale of the lease, along with the Youth Development Centre and Hiney Park following current owner Gerry Matthews’ assertion that he would not be seeking a renewal of the club’s Premier Division license in 2013.
Speaking prior to Friday night’s 1-1 draw with Shamrock Rovers at Oriel Park, Johnston said that there has been interest shown in the club but he refused to say whether the unnamed party had expressed a desire to take on just the lease or the whole package on offer.
“We’ve had one official expression of interest. It has been put in writing so I would consider it serious. The offer is privy to the people involved and we have said that any expression would be treated with confidentiality.”
The DFC Community Trust signaled their intent when they met with Johnston and Matthews at the end of June and the supporters group have requested a statement of affairs from the current owner.
“We are in the process of doing that now”, said Johnston. “There are significant financial figures in regards to this football club so they will be going out to all the people who have sent an expression of interest.”
The club have set a deadline of July 31 for potential buyers to come forward. Asked what would happen if no suitable parties were found, Johnston admitted it was something the board had not planned for.
“At the moment we wouldn’t have something there if the deadline goes. Collectively as a board we would have to sit and look at that and see what happens. We would cross that bridge if we come to it”
Johnston was also asked why the club had put the lease for Oriel Park up for sale. In the past, previous changes of ownership at the club saw the lease transferred to the new regime.
“I wasn’t here in 2006 when Gerry Matthews came in but my understanding is that Gerry bought the lease of Oriel Park. It is a long term lease and that is what he has in regards to running the football club.”
Speaking about finances, Johnston said that the club were living from “week to week” and said that the club had “been on the edge”.
“We have been able to pay this weeks wages. That has been down to the initiatives put forward by the club and by the response we’ve had from the fans. People have come in and donated money to the club and that has given us enthusiasm. The Save Our Club group had a great meeting this week and they will implement their many ideas this week.”
Speaking on the vacant manager’s position, Johnston said that the club’s board would discuss the matter collectively but he admitted that whoever gets the job would have to cut the playing budget.
“Cutting the budget is certainly something we have to do. We have a cut an awful lot around the club in the past couple of months and unfortunately we are in a situation where we have to continue to do that. For everybody involved, the club and the players, it is only fair of that is done as soon as possible. It will give players the opportunity if they are not going to be part of this club to talk to other clubs”.
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