Dundalk FC boss Vinny Perth has strongly rejected suggestions that the SSE Airtricity League champions have been lobbying other clubs to start the season from scratch.
A report in The Irish Sun on Sunday claimed that the Lilywhites wanted the five games already played in the league in February and March to be axed and for the campaign to be started afresh with two rounds of 18 matches played.
However, speaking to The Argus that evening, Perth said the article was “not a reflection of the opinions of the club.”
Dundalk had been criticised for their supposed stance with some suggesting it was a tactic to ensure they were back on a level playing field with current league leaders Shamrock Rovers, who top the table by three points after beating the champions 3-2 in Tallaght Stadium at the end of February.
“The headline is poor,” Perth said, when asked about it.
“If you read the piece it’s more balanced but we’re not looking to restart the season, we’re looking to finish the season and they’re two different things.
“We’re three points behind on the pitch and deservedly so but we’re also six, seven and eight points ahead of other rivals as well.”
The manager clarified that it was Dundalk’s preference to play as many games as possible in the league season.
“There is only one offer on the table at the minute and that is to finish the season by the end of October, which is effectively 13 games.
“We do feel there should be at least an option two, if not an option three, on the table and with the big announcement on Friday night of extra funding for Irish sport, the question we think should be asked is can that help the League of Ireland fulfil the very minimum 27 games, which would mean 22 more?
“If some clubs can ask for no relegation then we can ask for an extended season and I don’t think that’s rude or there’s anything wrong with it but to be clear we’re three points behind and deservedly so.”
Perth said that while he understood there would be differing opinions on the right way to restart the season, taking points off teams was nothing something he or the club were pushing for.
“The piece doesn’t reflect our opinion. For too long people were self serving and League of Ireland people just cared about themselves but we need to pull together as best we can.
“If you read the pieces I had done throughout last week, I happened to be in The Sun, The Star and The Mirror this week and there was no criticism of any of those pieces but this headline has grabbed a lot of attention I believe and it’s not a good reflection of where we are as a club. You can’t speak about sporting integrity and then suggest we take points off people as well.
“There has to be give and take though. At the moment there only appears to be take where some people are looking for no relegation and others want two up and that kind of thing but we’re just making the suggestion that can the league be extended beyond October and at least then we’d get a bit more of a balanced view about who the best team is, who the worst team is and who the top four are.”
Perth also joked that some of his players, including top scorer Patrick Hoban and potential Puskas Award nominee Jordan Flores, wouldn’t be too happy if the first five games were axed from the records.
“I’d be worried about Jordan but also Pat Hoban had started the season on fire and if you know anything about Pat he takes great pride in his goals and rightly so.
“I want him thinking that way. He has his own targets so he’ll want them five goals to count.
“We’re not looking to expunge any records though. We’re looking to have at least an option B on the table,” he said.