KENNY SHIELS believes Derry City could compete financially with both Dundalk and Cork City if they had the full backing of club’s supporters.
The Derry City boss says he will be operating on a shoe-string budget next season and, with no European qualification prize-money to fall back on, is facing a tough task attracting players to Foyleside.
In fact, Shiels is struggling to convince some of the current crop of players to remain at Brandywell for 2019 as they mull over their options, with the City boss claiming he can’t compete with the financial packages offered by other clubs.
However, he believes if the supporters were to pack out the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium regularly during the season, the club could then he wouldn’t face the same obstacles when it came to player recruitment.
“People from the city are saying: ‘How can Dundalk do it?’ and ‘How can Cork do it?’ Well their infrastructure involves a full stadium every home game,” said Shiels. “That accommodates the budget. That’s how it works.
“People say Derry is a football city and I have a lot of good friends in Derry, good football people, but is it a football city?
“Any budget is governed by how many supporters come to the game. If you have 5,000 supporters at Cork every home game then that’s £75,000 approximately coming into their coffers. So they can accommodate their budget in accordance to that.
“That’s a lot of money and we can’t compete with that. We could compete with Cork and Dundalk if we could fill this house (the Brandywell).”
It’s fair to say the quality of the product will determine the size of the attendances at home games and Shiels concedes it’s a ‘chicken and egg’ situation.
“If we were able to compete with Dundalk and Cork and Shamrock Rovers, Waterford, St Pat’s and Sligo Rovers, the top six and Bohemians even, then we would get more of a crowd in but it’s a chicken and egg (situation). You need the supporters in to get the finance to bring in players.
“If that was financed by the crowds, the six or seven players from Derry wouldn’t be at the other clubs. They would be here.”