Shelley and Gray to head Down Under
BRIAN SHELLEY and Steven Gray are set to emigrate after agreeing severance packages with Bohemians and withdrawing the winding-up order that had placed a question mark over the club's future.
It's understood that the players have received settlements worth slightly more than the 13 weeks' wages they were looking for to terminate their contracts. They have both been paid up front, and will look to continue their careers abroad, with the pair bound for Australia despite interest, in Shelley in particular, from within the League of Ireland.
Shelley and Gray went without payment over the winter, and lodged a petition for a winding-up order on the basis that Bohemians were unable to pay their debts.
Protracted negotiations eventually concluded this week, with FAI chief executive John Delaney amongst those involved in discussions on Thursday.
The respective parties have refused to reveal where the monies have come from to pay Shelley and Gray up front.
However, Bohs have yet to sign off on the redundancy packages with the remainder of their players under contract.
Broad agreement has been reached with all but one of the rest, although they will not receive any monies until the club receive a licence to compete in the 2011 campaign.
They have received a small amount to keep them ticking over, but the bulk of nine weeks' wages is unpaid.
"There's one individual matter still outstanding, to be concluded at weekend," said a Bohs spokesman last night. The ill-feeling between Shelley, Gray and the club remains, however.
A statement from the players' solicitor Stuart Gilhooly said: "The players would like to record their disappointment at how the matter was handled by the board and the length of time that they were left without any payment."
The statement went on to say: "They are, however, pleased to put the matter behind them and would like to wish the fans of the club well for the future."
Bohs were confident of their chances if the dispute with Shelley and Gray made it to court, believing they had information that would have worked in their favour.
Despite the removal of the immediate legal threat, the future for Bohemians remains unclear.
Some pre-season training sessions this week have been cancelled due to a lack of staff.
And, last night, the club said they were considering a bid from Carlisle for striker Paddy Madden, although it is believed some officials within the cash-strapped club are in favour of rebuffing an approach from the League One side.
The Irish Independent understands that Bohs are looking for more than the initial £25,000 bid from the League One outfit for Madden, with a further £25,000 coming if he made a certain number of appearances.
While the offer would be below the valuation of the Irish U-21 striker, the English club are aware of Bohs' desperate plight.
Madden has been paid over the winter, because the club wanted to honour his contract and therefore keep his sell-on value.