Thursday 14 December 2017

D-Day looms in Bray Wanderers crisis

Club tells players they are confident of getting cash to honour contracts for season

Bray Wanderers chairman Denis O’Connor. Photo: Sam Barnes
Bray Wanderers chairman Denis O’Connor. Photo: Sam Barnes
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Bray Wanderers chairman Denis O'Connor has told the players to give the club until tomorrow to show they can get the funds together to pay them for the rest of season.

O'Connor met the players and their representatives from the PFAI yesterday to discuss the state of play at the troubled Wicklow club.

He offered an optimistic update on his ability to generate funds from new investors and told the group that he wants them to stay at the club for the rest of the season.

That offered a contrast from the weekend where it appeared that the Seagulls hierarchy were open to the idea of the squad finding new employment.

The Bray players have been paid up to date to this point but O'Connor had communicated the message that the side placed third in the league only had the funds remaining to pay another week's wages.

In an interview with East Coast FM, the Bray chairman said that he was seeking finance from elsewhere and in his meeting with the players, it's understood he claimed that he has made progress in this regard.

However, the Bray squad remain worried by the situation and will seek guarantees if the troubled side say that they have secured fresh funds to ensure contracts are honoured.

A host of Seagulls players have interest from another clubs but they cannot make a move if Bray are unwilling to release them - they would only be legally free to go if Bray defaulted on wage commitments.

It's believed that a number of the Bray players who signed up in their eyebrow-raising recruitment drive last winter have lucrative bonus conditions in their contracts on top of their basic wage.

That includes a substantial portion of the prize-money if Harry Kenny's meet their target of qualifying for Europe. This would complicate the club's ability to use those funds to help with running costs.

O'Connor has indicated locally that he is seeking a short-term financial solution that will allow him to plan for the long term.

He confirmed that primary investor Gerry Mulvey has stopped funding the squad and his task is to find a replacement. Mulvey's support allowed Bray to get a Premier Division licence from the FAI.

In a wide ranging interview with East Coast FM, O’Connor claimed he would step aside if there was a better solution available.

“If someone else wants to come in and do the show, I’ll walk, because I am getting nothing out of this,” he said. “Show me the money and we’ll go.”

O’Connor re-iterated his belief that a major source of club’s problems is poor attendances and challenged the Wicklow public to come out and support the team.

A local criticism of O’Connor and the current Bray regime has centred around a possiblemove away from the Carlisle Grounds, which is owned by Wicklow County Council.

“This perception is out there that we are holding onto a golden nugget. Get real – we are holding onto a mess,” he added.

“We have one of the 12 teams in the Premier Division here in Wicklow. If people don’t want it, well let’s get real. Let’s wrap it up and let’s move on.

“My family think I’m bonkers to be involved in this. Do you know what? I actually think I’m bonkers as well.

“We need short-term funding. If we get that, I’m confident we’ll get long-term funding. What we are looking at is getting new money into the club primarily to get it to the end of this season.”

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