Thursday 21 September 2017

FAI hold talks with Bray Wanderers over future of the club

Jack O'Toole & Daniel McDonnell

Representatives of the FAI met with Bray Wanderers on Monday to discuss the future of the club amid reports that player and staff wages will only be covered until the end of this week.

Bray Wanderers players were advised by the club on Sunday that they could begin talking to other clubs, with the Professional Football Association of Ireland confirming the news on their official Twitter account.

PFAI General Secretary Stephen McGuinness told Independent.ie that the players association would be working with other Premier Division clubs to try and find Bray's players new clubs, however, he also admitted that it would be difficult to find the players new contracts given that a lot of the clubs are currently looking at overseas players due to a lack of free agents domestically.

In the interim, the FAI have met with the club to discuss their immediate future as well as to remind them of their commitments to the Independent Club Licensing process, in which a club must show that they can fulfil their budgetary demands.

A statement released by the FAI on Monday read:

"The Football Association of Ireland today held talks with Bray Wanderers FC regarding the club's current situation.

"At the meeting, the FAI requested that the club clarify its position following comments and a statement made by the club chairman last week.

"A number of key items were discussed during the meeting, including the commitments the club entered into during the Independent Club Licensing process.

"The FAI will continue to monitor the situation and discussions are ongoing between the Association and club representatives."

Bray released a statement on Friday during the middle of their SSE Airtricity League defeat to Dundalk with the club addressing rumours surrounding winger Dylan Connolly's transfer to Dundalk, poor attendances and low season ticket sales.

In the statement, which was signed by club chairman Denis O'Connor, the club said that it would not be in a position to continue running at the level expected by its fans without the proper support it felt it needed to survive.

The statement read:

“Apart from our season ticket holders we estimate that our average home support base is somewhere along the lines of Adult 125/165 and Concession 90/120.

“This tells us that the support base is just not there!

“Apart from the poor gate receipts the Club is not supported to any large extent by local advertising and sponsorship.

"We are not allowed use The Carlisle grounds to generate revenue – it can only be used for Soccer and Rugby League purposes.

“It is just not viable to continue to run a club at the level expected by fans without the proper support.

“A huge effort has been put into the club by many volunteers in the past few years/Harry has done a great job with the senior squad and substantial funds have been put in to support this effort for which we are grateful.

“But what is the point if we cannot get the minimum financial and supporter base which a great club like this deserves?”

Bray's financial problems have put other Premier Division clubs on red alert with managers on the lookout for fresh faces set to battle it out for their leading players.

Striker Aaron Greene will be the main man in demand and is on the radar of league leaders Cork City, who lose top scorer Sean Maguire to Preston on July 24.

Sligo Rovers and Galway United are also looking for a front man and Greene would fit the bill. Creative midfielder Gary McCabe will also have plenty of options with Sligo keen on bringing him back to the club.

Keith Buckley could return to his former club Bohemians after a winter move to accept full time football with the Wicklow club. Bohs may also look to bring in defender Hugh Douglas.

St Patrick's Athletic are also looking for a centre half and while they are close to a deal for Dutch defender Jordi Balk, the sudden availability of former favourite Conor Kenna could alter the situation.

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