Here we go again. Cork City are back in the news once again for all the wrong reasons and one has to admit the entire saga is now just to much to bear.
The crisis club were slapped with a third winding-up order on Friday last, this time for a bill that is believed to be in the region of €80,000. In May of last year the Revenue Commissioners applied for a petition to wind up the club before they received a sum of €440,000 at the midnight hour. Next came a winding-up order when former player Gareth Farrelly lodged a claim over a debt of €35,000.
That was followed by the embarrassing ‘Busgate’ affair when the coach driver removed the players from the vehicle and as a result the players had to ring a local radio station and plead with supporters to pay the transport company the money owed.
This brought much fun and laughter to those who believe that League of Ireland football is not a marketable business. John Delaney, FAI chief executive, and Fran Gavin, the League of Ireland director, have called on club owner Tom Coughlan “to consider his position” on a number of occasions in recent months but their pleas have, it would appear, fallen on deaf ears.
Delaney has described Cork City’s situation as “a perpetual crisis.” Along with all of the other clubs in the League of Ireland, Cork were presenting their budgets to the FAI last week and you would have to wonder why they were doing that with all those other issues still unresolved. It really is a staggering scenario.
Roddy Collins (pictured), who walked away from a job in Malta to link up with Cork City some weeks ago, came out strongly at the weekend and claimed the club have been victimised ahead of the latest winding-up order which is set for February 1st.
He believes that City should be allowed play in the Premier League despite all of their financial problems. “A Premier League without Cork City will be nothing more than a Leinster League because Bray Wanderers will come in,” he said. “If the club is thrown out of the league on the basis of the figures I have seen, then it will be an absolute [case of] victimisation…. It is an onslaught against the club’’ he added.
This latest mess in Cork could see them removed from the top tier, just as Derry City were recently, because John Delaney and the other top brass in Abbotstown have been making noises about the Leesiders playing “in some division of the league.”
Clubs like Waterford United must be scratching their heads right now and wondering why they bother to carry out their business in a proper manner. All in all it is a very sad state of affairs to see the crazy situation we find the entire League of Ireland in.
If Cork City are demoted to the First Division and Bray Wanderers are returned to the Premier we will have two lop-sided leagues. The Premier League will have five clubs based in Dublin, namely Shamrock Rovers, St Patrick’s Athletic, UCD, Sporting Fingal and Bohemians.
Throw in Bray Wanderers, who are semi-Dublin, and you are left with Galway United, Dundalk, Sligo Rovers and Drogheda United. That set-up is not going to excite or promote the game in this country.
The First Division is an even more crazy division and Waterford United may have to face travel chaos when you consider the clubs who will participate in 2010, namely, Athlone Town, Cork City, Derry City, Finn Harps, Limerick, Longford Town, Mervue United, Monaghan United, Salthill Devon, Shelbourne and Wexford Youths.
The Blues could face two trips to Derry, four journeys to Galway (Mervue and Salthill), two hauls to Monaghan, two more to Donegal (Finn Harps) and maybe the same number of bus journeys to Monaghan.
Athlone is not exactly down the road either and throw in Longford Town and you can see the horrendous hours the Waterford players will have to spend on the roads of Ireland.
Munster derbies against Cork City and Limerick would be a bonus, it has to be said, as would the South East meetings with Wexford, but surely the time has come to merge the two divisions, something the majority of clubs want.
The cost of travel, meals etc has risen in recent years and Waterford United are not the only club who will face such problems this year in the First Division.
Fran Gavin has said it will take up to 18 months to merge the two leagues and turn it into a single-division structure, but desperate measures are now required to extricate desperate clubs out of an atrocious situation – in most cases not of their making.