From the times
The American investors believed to be in negotiations to take over Dundalk also have a 25 per cent stake in Premier League side Bournemouth.
Peak6 is a Chicago-based investment firm, whose co-owner, Matt Hulsizer, also owns a stake in Minnesota Wild, a National Hockey League team. The firm invested in Bournemouth two years ago after Hulsizer failed to secure ownership of Reading a year earlier.
That they have now turned their attentions to Dundalk, runners up in this year’s SSE Airtricity Premier Division and FAI Cup, has the potential to become one of the most fascinating stories of the year, given the pedigree of the people involved, and the depth of their pockets.
Hulsizer, in particular, is an intriguing character, whose attraction to sporting underdog stories alerted him to Dundalk last year, when they became the lowest seeded side to qualify for the Europa League group stages. It is believed talks with Dundalk’s owners have taken place in the last month.
Their plan is to rebuild Oriel Park and construct a 7,500-seater stadium, complete with corporate facilities. In addition, they want to build a schoolboy structure which would make the club self-financing. Dundalk, and every Irish club, operate on a short-term scale, where two-year contracts tend to be the maximum length deals offered to players, thereby reducing their sell-on value.
Should the deal be completed — and sources have said the talks are at an advanced stage — the first objective of the new owners will be to secure Stephen Kenny, Dundalk’s manager, on a new deal. Although he is under contract for another three years, Kenny has attracted interest from overseas clubs in the past six months.
Kilmarnock, as reported in The Irish Sun, placed him on a three man shortlist last month while in the past week Dundee United also made enquiries to see if he was interested in returning to Scotland, where he last managed a decade ago, at Dunfermline Athletic.
The other key objective of Peak6’s plan is to build the Dundalk brand and sell it to an American audience, which may seem over-ambitious from this side of the Atlantic, but which fails to take into account that in 2013, the company raised over $1 billion for a new hedge fund. The playing budget of the club would also increase to over €1.5 million per year, a moderate rise from this season’s spend.
"This is not only a point to make headlines, it is the truth. Football on artificial turf is the future." - FIFA president Sepp Blatter