FINN HARPS’ Football Club must raise close to E50,000 if the Ballybofey club is to compete in the Airtricity First Division next season, the club’s shareholders have been informed.
At last Sunday night’s special general meeting, shareholders were informed that E48,000 must be raised by December 21st next otherwise the club will not be in a position to fill out the application for the necessary UEFA Licence to compete in the 2012 season.
However, in an effort to raise the necessary finance, the Donegal club has secured a friendly fixture against Shamrock Rovers - the first club they played competitively when joining the league back in the late sixties - which is expected to be played in Finn Park over the next few weeks.
A poorly attended meeting of club shareholders was told last weekend that Harps must raise the money by December 21st or face the prospect of going out of business.
Club chairman, Mr. Joey O’Leary, said it was a “very worrying situation” and che onfirmed that with money owing to the Football Association of Ireland and, indeed, the players for unpaid wages, the club simply had to clear their outstanding debts by next month or face the very real prospect of going out of business.
“That’s the way it is,” he announced. “We’ve got a job to do now over the next six weeks and while it’s going to take a big effort, I’m confident that we can meet that challenge.”
He also praised the players and said they had been “fantastic” - despite many being owed up to six weeks’ wages.
The chairman suggested that the problems had arisen during the June and July period of the season when wages payments were not made.
Mr. O’Leary said that as details of Sunday night’s special general meeting began to emerge, fans had now been contacting the club with fund-raising ideas and, in some cases, donations.
“It’s extremely heartening to see so many people getting in contact with donations and there are others who have been contacting us by telephone and sending emails suggesting ideas of what we can do to raise some money. That’s something that’s very appreciated by us,” he declared.
The idea of a friendly with Shamrock Rovers was first mooted after fans of the Dublin club began purchasing tickets for the Finn Harps’ “Monster Draw” online. In fact, up until last weekend, Rovers fans had purchased in the region of 70 tickets for that draw and have indicated that they hope to buy some more.
Last week, O’Leary made contact with senior officials from Shamrock Rovers and his suggestion for a friendly fixture has been well received by the powers that be in Tallaght Stadium.
It’s understood manager, Michael O’Neill, is considering using the game as part of his preparation for the “Hoops” final Europa League group matches against Ruban Kazan and Tottenham Hotspur and, according to the Harps’ chairman, the game could prove more than useful to both parties.
“The Shamrock Rovers officials have received our idea of a friendly very well,” continued O’Leary. “They would prefer to come here (to Finn Park) for a game and, hopefully, if it all works out, we will play that match sometime over the next two weeks.”
O’Leary suggested that the funds generated by the Monster Draw and the proposed Shamrock Rovers friendly match could potentially meet up to E25,000 euro of the outstanding debt.