Give me time to get Bohs firing - Fenlon
BOHEMIANS will operate on a budget of approximately €250,000 this season -- 15pc of what they were spending three years ago.
The 2008 and '09 League of Ireland champions, who missed out on last year's title on goal-difference, yesterday returned to discussing football matters after a winter of off-field controversy.
Pat Fenlon unveiled seven new signings at Dalymount Park after the club was granted a Premier Division licence on Monday and is hoping to add "two or three" players before starting their defence of the Setanta Cup against Portadown on March 1.
The signings so far are Liam Burns, Aidan Price, Ger O'Brien, Robert Bayly, Anto Flood, Daniel Joyce and Christy Fagan. Mark Rossiter and Gary Burke have rejoined, while Owen Heary, Glenn Cronin and Chris O'Connor remain from last season. Twelve of last year's reserve team are still on the books.
The new signings are on 40-week or less deals, meaning the club is moving away from 52-week contracts in line with most league clubs.
The Phibsboro club has the funds in place to complete the payment of monies owed to their 2010 squad this morning to finally end the saga that has dominated their troubled close season.
Fenlon admitted that his frustration with the financial state of the club saw him come close to walking away from the job. He pointed out that the five trophies he has won over the last three years have helped the club earn around €1m in prize money, while the sales of Gary Deegan, Matt Doherty and Paddy Madden have also boosted the coffers.
But Bohs still endured a miserable close season as the players went without pay for protracted periods and former players Steven Gray and Brian Shelley took out a winding-up order on the club.
That has now been settled, but Fenlon has yet to discuss terms on a new contract for himself. However, after plenty of soul searching he is willing to continue as manager on a budget smaller than anything he has worked with previously.
"It's what the club can afford and what we spoke about for a period of time," he said.
"I was disappointed with the way that things worked out. You see some of the work that has gone on when you are in here every day. People are working hard behind the scenes to try and rectify it.
"People have given me guarantees that they have lived up to, so I think that helps. And when you see people coming into the club and handing over money that they do not have, it's heartening.
"You see the money we have raised through the (loans) scheme and other ways. I am here every day and I see fellas coming in who probably don't have the money but who are coming in to give it to the club.
"There are genuine people out there who want the club to survive. Because it went close to not surviving, you want to be part of that as well."
After the months of stressing about whether their club would survive, most Bohemians fans will be glad that any team will be taking the field in red and black this season. However, with so many changes, Fenlon is hoping he and the new squad will be given time.
"This is a big club and all I will ask is for the supporters to be a bit patient this year," he said.
"They are used to winning at the moment and we want to keep winning. It's going to be difficult -- three or four teams have spent a lot more money than us and that usually works out that they will end up at the top end of the table.
"I think it's important we give these kids a go and see how they do. But the older ones we've brought in give us good experience and good leadership qualities and are good professionals.
"Away from the pitch, that's really important, for the young players that they learn how to behave and conduct themselves as players, whether it's on the pitch or off it."
Meanwhile, Sligo Rovers yesterday completed the signing of former Sporting Fingal goalkeeper Brendan Clarke on a one-year deal. Clarke will battle it out with FAI Cup hero Ciaran Kelly for the No 1 spot at the Showgrounds.