Evan Treacy/INPHO

Drogheda United members to vote on proposed takeover by US sports investment firm

League of Ireland club have been in talks with Trivela Group, who also own English League Two side Walsall.

DROGHEDA UNITED MEMBERS will get an opportunity to vote on the proposed takeover by US sports investment firm Trivela Group in the next month.  

The League of Ireland Premier Division club have been in talks with representatives from Trivela, who also own English League Two side Walsall, for months.  

Supporters have waited for news on major investment coming into the club and now the process is nearing its end.  

Last week, lengthy due diligence processes by both Drogheda United and the Football Association of Ireland came to end with the Association giving the green light for the takeover to be completed.  

United are a supporter-owned club and members, of which there are approximately 200, will need to vote through any proposed purchase of a majority stake in the club.  

An EGM is expected to take place before the end of the season and the club hope to announce their plans within the next 10 days.  

League of Ireland director Mark Scanlon, chief operating officer David Courell and President Gerry McAnaney are among the senior figures who have been involved in discussions with Drogheda club officials – led by chairperson Joanna Byrne and director Conor Hoey.

While there remain some legal and governance issues to be ironed out, the takeover process is all but complete and now needs only member approval to go through.  

Speaking to LMFM this week, Byrne said the process was “99.9% there”. The club hope to hold at least one public meeting ahead of the EGM vote where members and supporters will be given the opportunity to quiz the prospective new owners on their plans.  

“We’re in a very positive place,” Byrne said. “The FAI have been exceptionally supportive of us and the potential purchasers of the club that we’ve been in negotiations with for 11 months now at this stage.  

“Both the FAI and Louth County Council have met with the potential purchasers a couple of times – the FAI have been in talks with them themselves since January; they’ve done their own diligence on them through other entities.” 

Among the issues the FAI required clarification on in last week’s meeting was how the change of ownership would affect the club’s budget and Weavers Park. United have already commenced their licensing application for 2024.  

“Everybody sees that Drogheda are at a bit of a stalemate at the moment. We’re treading water and we probably are over-exceeding where we should be in terms of the budget we have, the facilities we have,” the chairperson added. 

“It’s not sustainable for much longer. If we didn’t have that plan for external investment, it would be a very dim picture. The FAI know are plans are realistic, they’re not pie in the sky dreams. We’re looking at a 10, 15, maybe 20 year investment plan.” 

Among the items on the prospective new owners’ agenda are a new stadium, improved training facilities and a move which would see Kevin Doherty’s first team move to full-time status.  

However, whether or not the team will immediately switch to a full-time setup remains to be seen. There are concerns over whether the club currently have the infrastructure to support a full-time first team. 

Depending on how the promotion race plays out, Drogheda could be the only part-time team competing in the Premier Division next season.  

“It’s being considered and will be striving towards it for the very near future,” Byrne said.  

In their search for investment, the club held serious talks with four other groups but no firm offers for a takeover were tabled prior to the concrete interest from Trivela Group.  

Ahead of the forthcoming member vote, Byrne believes there will be questions that supporters will want answered, and assurances given, before any takeover is complete.  

“I’m not expecting it to sail through. Coming into something like this is very daunting. Is it the right thing? Is it sustainable? Is it another Peak6 drama? I expect people will have questions. 

“I’m fairly confident that anyone who speaks to these people will see their motivations are right, their ethics are right, their morals are right. Their plan is visionary but realistic.  

“What it will bring to not just the club, but the town of Drogheda in Drogheda United’s name, is out of this world. The enormity of what we’re about to do is unprecedented in the league. 

“They are community focused and supporter focused. Drogheda is a really intimate football club and it’s very special. From day one, these people got that. It’s not about the first team, it’s about professionalising the club.” 

Drogheda currently sit in seventh place in the Premier Division, 12 points clear of Cork City in the relegation play-off position with four games to play.  

Trivela Group purchased a controlling stake in Walsall FC in June 2022. The companies’ website states that they aim to “create enduring value through the acquisition and management of association football clubs”. 

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel