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