Saturday 22 July 2017

Gannon exit leaves Fingal in frantic funding search

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

THE departure of developer Gerry Gannon from Sporting Fingal has been confirmed, leaving the club in severe need of investment if they are to remain a professional outfit in 2011.

Gannon's cash propelled Fingal into the upper reaches of the Premier Division and to FAI Cup glory in the space of just three years.

However, the developer -- who was a member of the Anglo 10 -- is now tied up in NAMA and is unable to spend money on any recreational project.

Documents have revealed that he made a €750,000 non-refundable contribution to the club in 2009 in addition to a €499,900 sponsorship payment in 2008.

Fingal secured promotion and won the cup in 2009, but still made a loss in excess of €75,000 over the year. They have struggled to attract crowds in their rented Morton Stadium home in Santry.

The long-term plan was to relocate the club to a new stadium in Lusk and build from there. Alas, all plans are now on hold as they look to bring in the funds to keep the club going as a top-flight entity.

Manager Liam Buckley is working on attracting new sponsors, while John O'Brien has replaced Gannon as company secretary. A spokesperson for Gannon said: "Mr Gannon now wants to fully concentrate on his business interests, given the economic climate in Ireland. He was glad to be a part of Sporting Fingal, and he wishes them the best for the future."

Fingal, whose players have all been paid up to date, are effectively the only club remaining in the league who are operating 52-week contracts.

Meanwhile, a war of words has broken out over the re-election of Eamonn Naughton as Airtricity League chairman, with beaten candidate Caroline Rhatigan alleging that clubs were pressurised into voting against her.

Rhatigan, who resigned from the position of vice-chairperson after losing out by 17-5, claimed that FAI chief executive John Delaney was against her.

The League of Ireland chairman sits on the all-powerful FAI Board of Management, and Rhatigan was planning to ask questions about the association's spiralling debt, in addition to seeking clarity on Delaney's recent pay-cut and other financial decisions made in recent years.

She says that clubs rang her on the morning of the vote apologising because they had to vote the other way.

Naughton responded to Rhatigan's comments with a statement issued by the FAI, strongly rejecting any suggestion that it wasn't a fair contest.

"I was surprised by Caroline's comments in the media today which do not reflect the recent club convention, which was extremely positive," he said. "With regards to the vote for chairperson, clubs made their own decisions and any talk of meddling is completely unjustified.

"It is disappointing that she used her resignation to portray the league in a negative light."

Irish Independent

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