Dundalk FC chairman Bill Hulsizer says the club remains calm about the losses experienced by owners PEAK6 since taking over at Oriel Park in January 2018.
Accounts filed by the club last week show they lost over €1.2 million in 2019. This brings total losses experienced by the Americans since arriving in Dundalk to €1.9 million following a loss of almost €700,000 in their first year here in 2018.
While the figure has alarmed many fans and League of Ireland followers, Hulsizer told The Argus at the weekend that PEAK6 always expected to lose money in their first few years at the club.
He said this was inevitable given they moved the club from being part-time to full-time on their arrival in Ireland and given the money they had invested in the Youth Development Centre – estimated to be in the region of €500,000 – to upgrade it to a state of the art training facility with a gym, changing rooms, physio rooms and media suite.
Reacting to the figures, Hulsizer – the father of PEAK6 founder Matt – said: “As an investment company, we seldom make investments in a company that immediately give us a return because the return is not instantaneous. Every once in a while you get one like that but we knew Dundalk was going to lose money if we did the things we wanted to do like develop the Lilywhite Training Centre.
“We are transitioning a part-time football team into a professional football team and we’re hoping the rest of the league will follow because our goal is to have the Irish Premier League as one of the most respected leagues in the world.
“Are we concerned that the team showed a loss? Yes, of course we’re concerned, but we’re more concerned because we’re competitive, not because we lost the money.”
The 77-year-old said there was no fears of PEAK6 running away from Dundalk as a result of the figures.
“We’re certainly not running away when we’ve invested more money and we hope to turn it around.
“I’d say don’t look at the loss, look at what we did with the money.”
Asked how much had been put into the Youth Development Centre upgrade, Hulsizer said: “I couldn’t tell you exactly but it was heavy duty. We made some mistakes in doing it but we think we’ve fixed them now.”
He also said he was unsure if all of last summer’s European prize money – in the region of €1.2 million – or the league winning money (€110,000) or Unite the Union prize fund (€50,000) were accounted for in the 2019 accounts.
“I don’t think we have any open balances but I can’t swear to that because I haven’t discussed it with my financial director.”
It is highly unlikely that the loss for 2020 will not be greater given the club have continued to pay players and staff throughout the Covid-19 lockdown despite not having fixtures with which to bring in gate receipts etc. However, Hulsizer said he did not know what impact the pandemic would have as yet on the club’s cash reserves of just over €1.3 million.
“We don’t know at this point because we don’t know how long Covid-19 is going to last.
“We’re hoping that the Government roadmap is good and we’re back playing soon. I can’t promise you the future because it is not mine to give but all I can say is that we’re working as hard as we can with the FAI and with the Government to make sure there is Irish football in the near future.”
Asked did he expect to see League of Ireland football this year, the chairman said: “I’m hoping we will and what I can say is that we’re doing everything in our power to support that.
“Two weeks ago we were ahead of the curve on being ready to return and we slowed down because the Government and the FAI asked us to. We’re operating and staying within the rules and that’s what we’re going to continue to do.”