Following weeks of speculation, last Monday finally brought the curtain down on the long running saga linking Lee Power with his proposed takeover of Waterford United.
Mr Power, who is also the owner of Swindon Town had been linked with the Blues for weeks but a lot of legal details and discussions between different parties had to take place before the deal could be officially announced.
Since the official press release there has been an explosion of interest among supporters of the club not only here but also throughout the entire country and there is no doubt whatsoever that a lot of attention will be focused on WUFC next season and of course during the coming weeks as the management team will be unveiled in the near future, perhaps as early as this week.
Lee Power spoke for the first time about his move to Waterford just minutes after the club released the press release confirming that the deal had been done and needless to say he was enthusiastic and superbly optimistic about the future of the famous club. He first spoke about his ties with Waterford and the South East. “I’m absolutely delighted that the deal has been done.
It took a little longer that we thought but we finally got there and I think ‘Sully’ (John O’Sullivan) deserves a nice drink tonight and we are all looking forward to the challenge ahead. My grandparents are from Waterford and my father is from Youghal Co Cork and as you can tell from my accent I am from Peckham, Co Cork” laughed Lee as he spoke with a strong Cockney accent before continuing.
“I have got strong links to the area and it was very interesting when this deal was first mooted because I was fully aware of the potential of the club and I’m thrilled that we have now got everything across the line. I was highly impressed with the facilities at the RSC and in Carriganore which are second to none.
As everyone knows I am the owner of a League One club in England and we wouldn’t have the facilities which are at the disposal of Waterford United and to be honest some teams in the Championship would not have them either and that was one of the big attractions about coming to this club especially when you take into account the investment we will be putting into the side and the development of the young kids which is vital and that was a big selling point.
“I was impressed with the underage teams at the club and now with the Under 15 League coming into place it gives us a blank canvas to work off and it gives us the opportunity to run a proper academy just like we have in the UK and that’s great. I like the way the system is going here in Ireland at the present time. It’s great to build foundations because that is the only way you can keep a strong and sustainable club going in the proper manner and that was a big sales point for us”.
Lee Power then confirmed that it was a big decision to take over the club considering they have been struggling both on and off the field for a number of years. “It was a big decision of course it was but I have been very keen to try and buy a club in Ireland for some time because there is a lot of scope there at the moment.
John Delaney and his team have been doing so much work behind the scenes in trying to develop the league and get it where it is and to be honest with you to see what Dundalk have done this year just goes to show you what potential is out there and when the opportunity came to do this deal with John O’Sullivan it’s one I wanted to get done and with the help of John Delaney and the FAI we managed to get it sorted and I am delighted”.
Needless to say Waterford United have been drifting aimlessly in the first division for more years than we care to remember and Lee Power made it clear he wants the club to get into the Premier League immediately. “First and foremost that is our aim. A big club like Waterford United should not be on division one and we are going to address that as soon as we can.
That is something we need to do sooner rather than later and I know that next season that is going to be our main aim. We need to win promotion and then look at the club at the following years but we will do everything to get up next season.
I am hoping to appoint a number of people in a week or two to the various positions such as a manager and a coach and so on. I have had discussions with a number of people, very good people in the league with lots of experience and I am hoping to box off those positions sooner rather than later. The season will be on top of us before we know it so it’s crucial that those positions are filled very soon.
I firmly believe I have the right people in mind and we are close to announcing them very soon” said Lee before talking about his playing career. “I was proud to play for Ireland although my family was not steeped in football. I was born in Peckham in South East London and my family were actually grocers and builders and I actually went to play with Norwich City and I was lucky enough to get called up into the England and Ireland squads in the same week but it did not take me long to decide to play for Ireland.
Andy Townsend was at Norwich at the time and he also persuaded me to declare for Ireland as did my father and I played for the Under 21 teams when Jack Charlton was in charge of the senior team which were fantastic times and I was blessed because we used to travel with the senior team and we were part of the entire setup. I knew the lads on the first team as I was playing in the Premier League.
I was delighted that Ireland defeated Austria last week and to make things even better Swindon Town beat Charlton Athletic 3-0. I had appointed Tim Sherwood, who is a very good friend of mine as Director of Football earlier in the week so yes it was a great week and then of course I completed the deal to take over Waterford United. I can’t wait to wait to get over to Waterford and start putting things in place.
I believe there is a great buzz over there now that the takeover is in the public domain and no stone will be left unturned to get the famous Blues back to where they belong; The Top” concluded the affable Lee Power.