Bray advise all players to look for other clubs

Sun, Jul 02 2017

Bray Wanderers have advised players they only have funds only to cover next week's wages and all squad members can discuss terms with other clubs, according to the Professional Footballers' Association of Ireland.

 

The news comes just two days after club chairman Denis O'Connor issued an extraordinary statement at half time during the 3-0 defeat to Dundalk at the Carlisle Grounds.

 

In the lengthy brief, O'Connor addressed the transfer of Dylan Connolly to Dundalk, lower than desired attendances and the difficulty of sustaining one of the league's highest budgets.

 

 

First signs of trouble arose during the week when Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny acknowledged the club were close to reaching a financial deal for winger Connolly's transfer.

 

The Lilywhites had made enquiries during the off-season for one of Bray's star performers, but the Seagulls appeared unwilling to let the highly-valued player leave the club.

 

And Friday's oddly-timed release confirmed what had been widely suspected within the league, that Bray's historically-small attendances were inadequate to cover the significant outlay on wages.

 

O'Connor supplied a detailed breakdown of the Seagulls' paid attendances this season (bar the first home game with Finn Harps) which differed by up to 55% from the total attendances provided officially by the club.

 

 

     Adult

    Concession

     Total

    Official

       Diff

Drogheda Utd 

     187

        118

305

638

333

Limerick

198

144

342

649

307

Galway United

171

84

255

477

222

Shamrock Rvrs    

848

450

1,298

2,225

927

St Pats

467

319

786

1,287

501

Bohemians

614

401

1,015

1,193

178

Sligo Rovers

256

155

411

772

361

Derry City

229

136

365

799

434

TOTALS

   

4,777

8,040

3,263

 

He revealed that the club's financial projections for season were predicated upon a significant increase in attendances during the year as the club achieve on-field success, a plan that has been shown to be fundamentally flawed.

 

The club's senior team costs were €560,000 in 2016, according to O'Connor, a number that would appear to have increased markedly ahead of the new season.

 

“At the start of this season The Club decided to back Harry [Kenny, manager] with more resources in the expectation that he would continue the good run and that the investment would push us further up the table, leading to greater support both on the terraces and reflected in gate receipts,” O'Connor wrote.

 

“Well, Harry has more than delivered but the support has just not materialised. Apart from our season ticket holders we estimate that our average home support base is somewhere along the lines of Adult 125/165 and Concession 90/120. This tells us that the support base is just not there!”

 

O'Connor once again lamented the club's inability to use the Carlisle Grounds to generate money from non-football use of the Carlisle Grounds.

 

The stadium is owned by Wicklow County Council and is provided to the club for a peppercorn rent on the proviso it's used for football, though in recent times rugby league has been permitted.

 

“Apart from the poor gate receipts the Club is not supported to any large extent by local advertising and sponsorship,” said O'Connor.

 

“We are not allowed use The Carlisle grounds [sic] to generate revenue – it can only be used for Soccer and Rugby League purposes.

 

The club's five-year strategic plan, released in November, signalled an intention by the club to leave the Carlisle Grounds – the oldest-surviving ground in the League of Ireland, having been in continuous use since 1862 – for a greenfield site outside the town.

 

The Carlisle Grounds is situated on a prime location on the edge of the town, adjacent to the DART station.

 

The statement ended with an ominous warning that appears to have become realised by today's revelation from the Players' Association.

 

“It is just not viable to continue to run a club at the level expected by fans without the proper support.

 

“A huge effort has been put into the club by many volunteers in the past few years. Harry has done a great job with the senior squad and substantial funds have been put in to support this effort for which we are grateful.

 

“But what is the point if we cannot get the minimum financial and supporter base which a great club like this deserves?”

 

Bray currently sit third in the Premier Division table, behind Dundalk and Cork City.