17 November 2022
By Tom Collins
Statement from Board of Management – Proposed sale of Cork City FC to Mr Dermot Usher
Over the past number of months, the Board of Management have engaged with a number of parties with regards to investment into the football club. The Board is now pleased to announce that following completion of our due diligence process we have provisionally accepted a bid from Mr Dermot Usher to purchase the entirety of Cork City FC.
The acceptance of the Board is subject to approval of the shareholders of the Friends of the Rebel Army Society (FORAS), the supporter’s group who currently control the club. The vote will be deemed to pass under a simple majority in favour. The vote will take place at a Special General Meeting on Sunday, December 4th. The board will exclusively be engaging with Dermot Usher and will not be considering any adiditonal approaches from other third parties.
The Board will be unanimously supporting a vote in favour of a sale, in what we believe could be an exciting next chapter in the history of Cork City FC. Both Dermot Usher and Chairman Declan Carey will be making a number of media appearances over the coming weeks, whilst Dermot will also be highlighting his vision for the club at the SGM.
Dermot is a successful businessman, where he previously led the Irish market-leading bathroom brand, SONAS Bathrooms, over a 30-year period, growing the business to in excess of €40 million in revenues per annum. Dermot exited his company in 2021 and remains on the Board of Directors as Non-Executive Director.
The bid and business plan consists of the following elements:
- Dermot Usher to assume full control of Cork City FC effective immediately, after the completion of legal and financial due diligence. The club had informed the FAI of the potential change of company during the licensing process, where a mechanism exists for a change in ownership before the 2023 League of Ireland season.
- An ambition to qualify for European Competition.
- Investment into the Women’s side of the club.
- The hiring of a Full-Time Marketing Executive to boost the club’s profile across Cork city and county.
- The hiring of a Full-Time Director of Football to oversee Academy integration with the first-team, club recruitment policy, establish scouting networks, youth transfer policy, and ensure the same football philosophy and culture are embedded throughout the club.
- A commitment to work with the MFA on the development of Turner’s Cross.
- A commitment to end all gambling sponsorship associated with the football club.
- The development of a memorandum of understanding with FORAS to include regular meetings and supporter engagement throughout his ownership. More details on this will be provided prior to the SGM.
- FORAS will be left with a sum of money to enable the Trust to continue operating in its original capacity as acting as a guardian for Cork City FC.
- The execution of the sale will be subject to an end-date; following a passage of the vote at the SGM, which will include the surrendering of the call-option by Grovemoor Ltd. on pre-agreed terms.
As a result of the vote, FORAS membership will now close until after the vote itself.
Speaking today, Club Chairman Declan Carey said: “The Board will be strongly advocating for a sale and we will be communicating our reasoning in full over the coming weeks and on the night of the Special General Meeting. We’ve met with Dermot and heard what he has to say. He is passionate about the League of Ireland but critically has the business knowledge, experience, and personal wealth to back up his ambitions for our football club. This will be the right decision for our football club”.
Club Treasurer, Conor Hallahan commented: “Anyone who has attended our AGM’s in recent years will know the attention to detail this Board has paid to the club’s finances and we have been pretty rigorous in making tough decisions to improve our financial position. However, even with the changes we have made, the club is becoming more and more difficult to manage from a financial perspective. Costs have increased across the club and we expect further increases in the coming years. External investment is now required to allow the club to grow in a sustainable manner.
We have analysed Dermot’s plan and conducted our due diligence. His plans are prudent and align with our vision for the club. They will enable us to compete at the right end of the League of Ireland, whilst also continuing to support our player development policies. We owe it to ourselves to back the sale and secure the funding for the next chapter of our club’s history.”
Dermot Usher, said: “I have been passionate about sport all my life and I’m an avid fan of the League of Ireland. Since I sold my business in 2021, I have been looking to contribute more to football in this country and having spoken to the Board of Management and others around the league, Cork City FC is such an exciting opportunity for everyone involved. FORAS under fan ownership have done the club proud over the past 12-years. I just hope they will now give me the chance to bring the club to the next level. I will always aim to over-deliver and will look to grow every area of the club including the Academy and Women’s teams, and also working with the community. I understand how difficult times have been under different owners in past, but I promise I will do everything possible to make your football club successful and competing at the right end of the League of Ireland. I have committed the financial support to make this happen. This club deserves to be competing for trophies and that is exactly what I want to achieve. I look forward to meeting everyone and discussing my plans over the coming weeks.”