Monday 21 August 2017

'We won't spend mad money to win title'

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny and club chairman Ciaran Bond (right).
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny and club chairman Ciaran Bond (right).

ON the field of play have results gone even better than you expected since the appointment of Stephen Kenny as manager?

'Without a shadow of a doubt. From the outset it was about stabilisation on and off the field, and because our budget wouldn't have been as much as Shamrock Rovers we were looking at mid-table and probably bottom half of mid-table.

'We put a three or four-year plan in place to get us to where we need to be, and if we can do that in one or two years that's even better. We are going in one direction and Stephen Kenny is a major factor and player in the plan.

'Being in fourth position is way ahead of what we expected and it's a tribute to the playing staff and the coaching staff and Stephen's managerial skills.

'We are only at the half-way point of the season, but it's nice that we are not looking over our shoulder at the bottom two or three and we'll be in the Premier Division again next year, please God.'

Success on the field of play has been good for the club as a whole. What sort of knock-on effect has there been?

'Our reputation as a club had been damaged over the past two or three years, but in the town of Dundalk there is now a feelgood factor about Dundalk FC again and weeks into the season people were still buying season tickets after the good start we made.'

How will the money from the Legends game be spent?

'That money is factored into the budget. When we looked at the fixtures last November this holiday period was always one that was going to put a drain on the club's finances.

'We needed a contingency plan, and the Legends game was that [contingency plan].

'But our last round of games are more attractive to fans and if we are still in the shake-up for the league then we would like to see 300 or 400 more people coming to each of the games.

'Some of the attendances have been a bit lower than we expected, but sometimes the weather can be a factor in that and I would be confident we can get 2,000 through the gate on a regular basis.'

Has Stephen Kenny asked you whether it would be possible to strengthen the squad?

'Stephen wouldn't be doing his job if he didn't.

'The impact of losing a player in Wardy [Keith Ward, due to injury] is something we will have to try to address. People have been away, but we will have a meeting next week to reflect on what we have done over the last three and a half months in terms of finance and see where we go from here.

'But we would have to be pleased at where we are and we will not be spending madly to try and win the league.'

How is the relationship between the Board and the Trust Committee working on a day-to-day basis in terms of getting things done and formulating long-term plans?

'Everybody is one united body working for the benefit of Dundalk Football Club. There is no Trust or Save Our Club and we are basically a board of management.

'It's going well, in fairness. There's different people from different backgrounds with strengths in certain areas - business and academic - and it's a good blend.'

Does that system of one body make it simpler to reach agreement quicker when it comes to making decisions?

'There's that to a point, but supporters know that we are there for one goal and our only purpose is to benefit Dundalk Football Club. We are supporters ourselves and we are not going to behave irresponsibly to achieve what we want to do.

'There is no point in spending a lot of money if you're going to end up with nothing as a result.'

Overall, what position is the club now in financially?

'It probably seems like we've been having an awful lot of fundraisers. That's because the next month presents a challenge, but I think we will come out the other side, no problem.

'We are happy with where we are at this moment in time. Our aim is to break even at the end of this year and we are still on target to do that.'

The Argus