Lee Power announces sale of Waterford FC

New owner Richard Forrest has vowed to invest in both the academy and first team.

File photo of Lee Power.
File photo of Lee Power.
Image: Paul Harding

Updated Jun 4th 2021, 3:49 PM

LEE POWER HAS announced the sale of Waterford FC to UK company R & S Holding Ltd, which is headed by businessman Richard Forrest. 

Power, who also owns English side Swindon Town, took control at Waterford in 2016, but today announced a deal was completed over the weekend to transfer 100% of shares to a UK group headed by Richard Forrest. 

In a statement, Power says he believes he left Waterford in a better place than that in which he found it, though failed to hide his disgust at being denied a place in the Europa League in 2019.

Waterford believed they had qualified for the competition by finishing fourth in the Premier Division in 2018, but were not granted a Uefa licence as Power had set up the club as a new company when they were rebranded in 2016, thereby not meeting Uefa’s licensing rule that states a club must be in existence for at least three years before competing in European competitions. 

“I am confirming that Waterford FC have sold 100% of its shares to R & S Holding Ltd who are a UK-based company headed up by Richard Forrest”, read Power’s statement today.

“Earlier in the year, Richard purchased 33% of the football club and the remaining shareholding was agreed over the weekend. I would like to thank all the staff, supporters, and businesses of Waterford that have supported me and the football club throughout my time.

“I would also like to think that I have left the club in a much better place than when I purchased it in 2016 when we were in the first division, attracting crowds of 200 and close to going out of business. After a lot of hard work and substantial investment, we managed to get the team back to the Premier League and also qualify for Europe, only for that to be taken away from us.

“Ever since that decision was made by Uefa it has left a bitter taste in my mouth and it was difficult for things to stay the same. However, yet again last year it came down to the final game where a victory would have seen us back in Europe but it was not meant to be.

“I have managed to steer the club through Covid and cover the substantial losses that came with that and felt that now is the right time for me to move over and let someone else take the club forward.

“Me and my family will always continue to support and help the club in any way we can.

“Once a Blue always a Blue.”

In a separate statement, new Waterford owner Forrest immediately promised to invest in both the club’s academy and its first team, vowing that Waterford’s disappointing string of recent results would turn.

“Firstly, I would like to thank Lee Power for the smooth completion of our takeover,” Forrest said. “Secondly, I am extremely grateful that Lee has chosen to put his trust in me to take the reins and I am very excited to meet you amazing BLUES fans real soon! Lee has done a brilliant job with Waterford FC over the last four years and I know the club will remain a large interest within his family’s life and it would be great to see them back at a Blues game soon.

Waterford FC is a sleeping giant that has instantly won my heart. I can’t wait to work closely with Marc [Bircham] and his staff, the fans, and local businesses to drive this club forward and create an amazing journey for the club and the local community.

“Marc has really impressed me since he joined Waterford FC and there is a real togetherness and great buzz around the club. I can assure you the results will turn.

Another large passion of mine is the youth academy. Mike [Geoghegan] has done an amazing job with the academy and it’s another area we will be looking to invest.

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“As you are all aware, the club has had a challenging start to the season due to the pandemic.

My main focus is to immediately invest in the first team and make sure the club keeps premier league status. As a collective, we have identified some great talent and hopefully in July we will have some exciting news to share with you.

“I am excited to name Mitchell Cowling as our new chairman. Mitch played a big part of pinpointing this fantastic club for us to take over and introduced me to Lee power earlier this year. Mitch has been a business consultant for me over the last 10 years where he has helped several of my businesses grow from strength to strength and I am excited to bring him to Waterford FC for our new challenge.

“Up the Blues!”

Waterford are bottom of this season’s Premier Division table with six points from 14 games. 

- Updated with quotes from Richard Forrest.

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