Dundalk FC chairman Bill Hulsizer has vowed that any big European pay day earned by his side in the coming weeks will go back into the club.
A 5-3 penalty shoot-out victory over Moldovan champions Sheriff Tiraspol on Thursday night means that the Louth men are just 90 minutes away from the Europa League group stages.
They will now face Faroese side KÍ Klaksvik in the play-offs at the Aviva Stadium on Thursday night with a €3 million pay day up for grabs for the winner.
Dundalk previously became the wealthiest club in the country on the back of their group stage run under current Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny in 2016, with American investors PEAK6 arriving a year later ahead of the 2018 campaign.
Asked what Europa League qualification would mean for a club that lost more than €1.2 million last year, Hulsizer said: “I don’t control the purse strings but I would imagine if we have a big pay day that much of it will get put back into the club and/or the League of Ireland. I don’t draw a line between the two.”
Asked if this meant investment on facilities, players and contracts, the 77-year-old said “yes”.
He added: “We have, from the beginning, said that is what we want to do.
“I can’t talk about what was here before we came but I know we have one of the better training facilities in the country. It wasn’t cheap but it has been a good investment.”
Hulsizer, father of PEAK6 founder Matt, was rumoured to have interfered with team selection under previous boss Vinny Perth but he denied this before paying tribute to new interim head coach Filippo Giovagnoli, the unknown Italian who has now won his first four matches in charges of the Lilywhites.
“In spite of what has been said I had very little to do with it,” said Bill.
“I wish now I could say that I picked the team and I told him who to play but I didn’t and I won’t.
“I’m thrilled about last night. I’m absolutely thrilled for Filippo. He has kept every promise he has made.
“I’m thrilled for the team, I’m thrilled for the town. We understand how important it is for the town and for Ireland.”
Asked was he nervous watching the game, Hulsizer chuckled: “To say the least!
“We had a problem with the streaming to start and that just made it more nervous.
“I’m hoping that they win the next one coasting because I don’t know if I could stand two of them in a week.”
The chairman added that Europa League qualification would be a silver lining to a tough year for the club following the loss of groundsman and videographer Harry Taaffe to suicide in July.
“We’ve had a tough year. Remember we lost a really valuable asset in Harry Taaffe and it has hurt everybody.
“If there was a trophy that came with qualifying for the group stages then we’d be dedicating it to him but hopefully we can do it in his honour.”