Dun­dalk have been in talks with a ‘num­ber’ of po­ten­tial in­vestors

The Argus - - SPORT - JAMES ROGERS

DUN­DALK FC gen­eral man­ager Mar­tin Connolly (pic­tured right) has played down spec­u­la­tion of im­pend­ing in­vest­ment in the club.

The Times of Ire­land re­ported last week that Amer­i­can in­vestors Peak6, who also have a 25% stake in Pre­mier League side Bournemouth, were in talks to take over the club with cur­rent own­ers Paul Brown and Andy Connolly re­main­ing at the helm.

The ar­ti­cle claimed that the Chicago-based com­pany planned to con­struct a 7,500 seater sta­dium with cor­po­rate fa­cil­i­ties at the Car­rick Road venue, as well as build­ing a school­boy stru­cu­ture and in­creas­ing the play­ing bud­get.

While that led to ob­vi­ous ex­cite­ment with Dun­dalk sup­port­ers, there are many fear­ful of the pos­si­ble long-term im­pact of hav­ing an in­vest­ment fund in charge of the club, with past ven­tures such as Ark­aga’s in­vest­ment in Cork City end­ing badly.

Those be­hind the scenes at Oriel Park would no doubt have to weigh up all the pros and cons of such a deal be­fore any­thing was con­cluded.

Speak­ing to The Ar­gus on Mon­day, Connolly said the club were talk­ing to more than one pos­si­ble in­vestor at present but that no dis­cus­sions had been fi­nalised.

‘In the last 18 months we’ve had in­ter­est from Rus­sia, Malaysia and China. All we’ve been do­ing is fol­low­ing up on these con­ver­sa­tions and see­ing if it leads any­where.

‘We have been talk­ing to more than one po­ten­tial in­vestor re­cently and if we feel it is for the good of the foot­ball club we will look to pur­sue that but there is noth­ing to re­port at the mo­ment,’ he said.

De­spite the gen­eral man­ager’s as­ser­tions, The Ar­gus un­der­stands it is more a case of when rather than if new in­vest­ment comes into Oriel Park.

This was hinted at by man­ager Stephen Kenny last week when a state­ment thank­ing fans for their sup­port through­out the year in­cluded the line: ‘Be­hind the scenes there’s a lot of rea­sons to be ex­cited and it’s go­ing to be a great place to play foot­ball over the next few years.’

De­spite the prize money the club took in last year from their run to the Europa

League group stages, there is still a large short­fall com­pared to what it would cost to carry out a much-needed re­vamp of Oriel Park. Equally cur­rent own­ers Andy Connolly and Paul Brown have their own busi­ness, FastFix, to worry about on a day-to-to­day ba­sis.

Peak6 are un­der­stood to be ex­cited by the over­all project at Oriel Park and set up talks with Dun­dalk hav­ing pre­vi­ously ex­am­ined the pos­si­bil­ity of a link-up with St Pa­trick’s Ath­letic.

In the mean­time, Connolly in­sists the club are look­ing to carry on as nor­mal. It is hope­ful that there will be some trans­fer news to re­port on this week while plans are be­ing fi­nalised for the launch­ing of the club’s new jersey from CX+ Sport.

Two of the three de­sign pro­pos­als for the ren­o­va­tion of Oriel Park have also been re­ceived to date from lo­cal firm De­nis Wil­liams De­sign Ser­vices and from Dublin-based O’Brien Fin­u­cane Ar­chi­tects, whom Dun­dalk striker David McMil­lan works for. A third pro­posal is due shortly.

Those vi­sions will then be weighed up but will it be out­side in­vest­ment that helps turn one of them into a re­al­ity? Only time will tell.

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