Cork City boss insists they can continue to compete despite €300k budget cut

“Maybe reality is being applied in that the budget can’t be as big but the club will still be very good.”

Cork City manager John Caulfield.
Cork City manager John Caulfield.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

JOHN CAULFIELD ISN’T deterred by the prospect of being forced to contend with a substantial reduction to his budget for 2019.

Cork City’s hopes of wrestling the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division title back from Dundalk next year will be hampered by a €300,000 cut.

The decision was relayed to members by the board of management at a general meeting of Foras, the supporters’ trust which owns the club.

The manager’s budget for 2019 will be decreased as a result of the substantial difference in participation money — over €500,000 based on guaranteed income — between the Champions League and the Europa League.

As Ireland’s representatives in Europe’s premier club competition this season, City earned a sum of €820,000. However, they’ll be back in the Europa League in 2019 after Dundalk regained the title at the expense of their rivals.

“Whatever decision [the board] make is fine,” said Caulfield, who also insisted that City were crowned champions last year in spite of a budget that was smaller than at least three other SSE Airtricity League clubs.

“Ultimately it’s up to Foras to decide where we want to get to. The club have done phenomenally well and — obviously as a management team — we want to keep driving it on.

“We’ve never been in the top three [clubs] in terms of budget. Even last year I would say we were fourth, maybe fifth. We’ve always been prudent. That’s the way it is and that’s where we’re at. If there are cuts — I’m hearing that, but I haven’t been told directly — that’s fine. We’ll just get on with it.”

Damien Delaney and Sandro Kulenovic Cork City's campaign in Europe this year yielded defeats to Legia Warsaw and Rosenborg. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

A reduced budget will increase the scale of the challenge Caulfield will encounter in his side’s ongoing rivalry with Dundalk. In addition to retaining key players like Michael Duffy, Lilywhites boss Stephen Kenny is expected to be afforded increased financial backing for 2019 by the club’s owners, American investment firm Peak6.

Dundalk’s superiority this season saw them wrap up the Premier Division title with three games to spare, although City can still finish the campaign on a high by winning a third consecutive FAI Cup when they face the Louth outfit at the Aviva Stadium on 4 November.

Caulfield added: “There has to be reality to the club and where we’re at. We have to work within our structures and that’s what we always do. At the end of the day, on one hand it’s a situation where you’re trying to win a league every year and you hear supporters screaming, ‘sign this fella, sign that fella’, or whoever.

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“We have to be realistic. We’re not in the market to sign big-name players and pay huge wages. That’s not where we’re at. We don’t make excuses, we work hard. We’ve been here for five years and got into Europe every year, four cup finals, won a double.

“We’re achieving the maximum out of the budgets and that’s what we’ll continue to do. Money and budgets was never my objective coming into the club. It was putting in a foundation and stepping stones and we’ve done really well.

“The difficulty for the board is that people on the outside are screaming and they want this, this and this. Maybe reality is being applied in that the budget can’t be as big but the club will still be very good.”

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