Cork City boss Tom Coughlan defended himself and his commitment to soccer in Cork City as he appeared before a disciplinary committee in Abbotstown at lunchtime today.
Coughlan challenged the charges of bringing the game into disrepute when he went before an independent committee made up of FAI members.
“I fully intend to defend myself and the club at today’s hearing,” Coughlan said this morning on his way to Dublin.
“Yes, it has been a hard year for me and the club, but some of what is being thrown at me is unfair.
“When I took over 12 months ago I inherited a club with a huge wage bill, one it could not afford.
“Then once we took over we found a situation worse than what we believed it was before we took over. It takes time to make changes to any business and it will take us another while yet to get everything correct, but we will.
“I took over Cork City to save the club from extinction and remember when I did that there were not too many others willing to part with their money to save the club.”
Coughlan, who today became the first owner in over 20 years to be charged, is baffled why he is the only person to face such a charge when other clubs have caused as much embarrassment to the league, than the one he got the most criticism for — not paying a bus company on time before one trip to Dublin.
“With Derry City leaving their players short approximately €200,000 this year, Dundalk introducing wage cuts mid-season and Drogheda United leaving their players short roughly €200,000 last year it’s very strange that the owner of Cork City should be the only person brought to task.
“As far as I know I am the only person in League of Ireland history to pay back the money in full owed to the players by a previous regime, while still trying to ensure no player is owed anything at the end of what’s been a very difficult year financially for the club, the country as a whole, with job losses and pay-cuts becoming the norm.”
It has been widely reported the Coughlan is believed to have invested more than €800,000 of his own money this year, but the owner refused to confirm how much it has cost him.
“It has cost me a fortune, both financially and privately.
“All I am getting for my troubles is abuse from all quarters, but I am determined to get this right.
“There are new structures in place, there is a new general manger in place, there is a new budget in place.
“I will be announcing a new manager in the next 48 hours — the future is bright.
“We are in Europe next year, so we must be doing something right. I know I have made mistakes, but I have honoured all my commitments to the players’ in terms of monies owed.
“We are late with the players’ money this week, but the club has no way of bringing in income for the past few weeks, but the players will be paid and very soon and everything will be in place before we send off our licence application for next year.”
Meanwhile, Joe Gamble has opened talks with Hartlepool today and Yeovil Town have also expressed an interest in him.
Article courtesy of The Evening Echo newspaper.