Mike Treacy has stepped down as chairman of Dundalk FC after two years in the role.
The 32-year-old has parted company with club owners PEAK6 due to family commitments and has been replaced as chairman by Bill Hulsizer, father of PEAK6 founder and CEO Matt.
In a statement on his departure, Treacy said: “My family and I have decided it’s time for me to step aside from PEAK6 and focus on my wife Laura’s medical career during this pivotal stage. Moving on to the next chapter will unfortunately require I step down as Chairman of Dundalk Football Club. I am honoured to have served as Chairman these last two seasons and forever grateful to the Dundalk community.
“While this was a difficult decision, I am excited for Bill to assume a larger role with Dundalk FC and lead the club’s continued progression both on and off the pitch. His passion and commitment are unparalleled as Dundalk FC begins a new decade of football.”
Further elaborating on his departure on his Twitter page, Treacy said: “After much consideration, I’ve made the difficult decision to leave PEAK6 so I can be there for my wife Laura as she embarks on a critical stage of her burgeoning career. Family always comes first for us, and Laura’s success and achievements are my greatest pride.
“Thank you to Matt and Jenny for the incredible experience I’ve had at PEAK6 over the last decade-plus. I’ve learned a massive amount about both business and life.
“To the Dundalk FC community – the supporters, volunteers, players and staff – I couldn’t be more grateful for the experience I’ve had working with the best football club in Ireland. You showed me how football can transform a town’s identity.
“While this decision was far from easy, my sadness is outweighed by the great sense of excitement I have for the next chapter in our lives.”
The owner of Oriel Park have insisted there is “no impediment” on Dundalk FC in upgrading the ground due to the club not owning it.
In an exclusive interview, Des Casey – whose family have leased the Carrick Road venue to the club since 1936 – said he would be happy to support PEAK6 with any plans they had to upgrade the stadium.
However, he said he has had no approach from them regarding any plans to renovate what has become the most criticised ground in the League of Ireland.
Last month Dundalk FC chairman Mike Treacy called for local and national government support to bring the stadium up to the standard of the team.
He told RTÉ Sport after Vinny Perth had guided the side to their fifth title in six seasons: “We have explored near-term quick fixes for Oriel Park, but the reality of the situation is we are not going to spend €5m to €6m to build a piece of real estate on land we don’t own.
“We need help from our county. We need help from our national, local government and the FAI. If you think about this place and Dundalk, Dundalk Football Club is a fabric of this community. This town deserves to have a stadium that is up to the standard of what we see on the pitch every day,” said Treacy.
However, Casey says owning the land is “no impediment” to upgrading Oriel Park, insisting that the rent of the ground for the six beneficiaries from the family is nominal with 73 years of a 99-year lease still to run, making it as good as their land.
“There is a 99-year lease on the ground and they can build or expand as part of that. They have a total licence to improve the place if they wish,” he said.
“The lease is totally geared for the viability of the football club and it will still be in place long after we’re all gone.
“The Casey family have not been approached with any regard to a development in Oriel Park but in the event that we were, we would be – as we were in the past – totally supportive.
“There’s no elephant in the room. As in the past, any improvement would just involve a consultation. There are certain impediments such as they can’t have any habitation on the grounds but any proposal to upgrade or do a makeover of the ground would have the full support of the Casey family,” said the former UEFA vice-president.
Casey also dismissed the suggestion that the club could not receive grants due to not owning the ground, pointing out that the Department of Tourism and Sport invested €1.25 million in Oriel Park in 2006 towards the installation of the artificial surface and Youth Development Centre.
“There has been no sports capital grant in Oriel since 2006, which is 13 years, but that is as much to do with management not seeking it as anything.
“The ownership of the land wasn’t an impediment then, nor is it an impediment now.”
Casey also re-iterated that his family had every intention of making Oriel Park available for the club as long as they wanted it.
“It’s for football as long as they want it,” he said.
“If they decide to leave that’s all right too but it’ll be there after we’re gone.
“It’s water-tight the lease. It gives them total and absolute control of everything within the four walls of the ground,” said the club president.
Dundalk head coach Vinny Perth has hailed the appointment of Mark Devlin as the club’s new Chief Executive as a “massive positive”.
Devlin is due to meet with Perth and other club staff for the first time this week ahead of his official start date next Monday, April 1st. He comes to Oriel Park with a wealth of experience having been CEO of Brentford from 2011 to last December.
Prior to that he also worked as Chief Executive of Queens Park Rangers and Swindon. Reacting to Devlin’s appointment, Perth was excited about what he could add to the club.
“I think it’s positive,” he told The Argus. “I’ve researched some of the work he has done at Brentford and it’s outstanding but there’s also good people here as well doing a lot of outstanding work, people like Ailish Kelly in the office and the work that Martin Connolly has done in the last six or seven years has been outstanding. We’ve a lot of good people and I think Mark will only enhance that.
“I think it’s good that someone coming from the outside might see something that we’ve missed. I think it’s a massive positive and it shows you the club is going in the right direction. There’s been a new Financial Controller post filled too so we’re starting to see a lot more investment in the club behind the scenes that will only make it a better club.”
Having seen first-hand the set up at Brentford during a trip there with Dundalk in 2016, Perth is hopeful Devlin can bring some of that expertise to Oriel Park.
“There’s a lot of similarities between the two clubs in terms of the owners and their belief in the clubs. It’s a bit early to understand what Mark’s train of thought is but over time we’ll start to see that. If he can have the same success here as he had with Brentford I think it’ll be a positive.”
Commenting on the appointment, Dundalk FC chairman Mike Treacy said: “After a thorough and exhaustive interview process, during which the board have interviewed a number of potential candidates, we are confident that we have found the right person to drive the club forward and help us achieve our goals as a business.
“While at Brentford, Mark led the West London club’s ascension from League One to the Championship. Crucially, Mark, demonstrated a number of key attributes that are important to us as we seek to take the business to new heights – amongst them, modernising club operations, increasing and engaging with the fan base and was heavily involved in the planning of the new Brentford Community Stadium.
“At PEAK6 we place a heavy emphasis on working in teams while applying data and technology to make smart business decisions. Mark also brings a vast experience utilizing data to improve marketing, retail, and ticketing operations. We are excited for him to work with existing staff to lead the league off the pitch.”
Speaking on his appointment, Devlin added: “I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to become Dundalk FC’s Chief Executive, and I can’t wait to begin work in my new role.
“Joining the champions of Ireland is a huge honour. I intend to build upon the excellent work that has been done at the club in recent years, and aim to grow Dundalk FC into a bigger, better and stronger club, on and off the pitch.
“I see this as a very exciting opportunity to work with an ownership group that is fully committed to this club, and prepared to support it’s growth and development in the short, medium, and long term. I believe the owners are building something special at Oriel Park, and I am proud to have been given the chance to play a part in that.
“My aspirations match that of the owners, in that I want Dundalk FC to be trailblazers off the pitch as well as on it. Our common goal is to ensure we continue to dominate domestic football, and make continued progress in Europe, bringing success to both the town and the country.”
Dundalk FC chairman Mike Treacy has seen first hand the impact a sick child can have on friends. That’s why he has taken particular pride in the club launching their new third kit in partnership with sponsors Fyffes in aid of Temple Street Children’s Hospital.
The new kit was unveiled at Oriel Park last Wednesday and worn by the club for the first time in Monday night’s EA Sports Cup match away to St Patrick’s Athletic.
It will be worn throughout the cup campaigns with €10 from every sale going towards Temple Street. The club will also donate €100 for every goal scored in the cups while a fundraiser will take place later this year in aid of the hospital at which the Dundalk players have volunteered to give up their day’s wages.
Various local businesses have also vowed to donate towards Temple Street based on goals scored and clean sheets kept throughout the year.
Speaking to at the launch, Treacy said the idea for the link-up came following a visit by a number of Dundalk players to Temple Street before Christmas.
“This is our seventh year with Fyffes and after seven years you re-evaluate the relationship. We went through a little bit of a separation there but we couldn’t separate from each other ultimately so we came back together and we wanted to do something greater.
“Christmas Eve was special when Vinny and the players went to the hospital to visit the sick children and brought them a Christmas. That spawned the idea of why don’t we do something bigger than this while we’re on the pitch and do something more meaningful.”
Treacy knows from one of his friend’s experiences of just how important facilities such as Temple Street can be.
“One of my best buddies back in Chicago, his niece around Christmas time had a disabling injury and was immobile for a month or so. She’s slowly going through rehabilitation. It sets her back a year physically but for Mike and his family the world stops. You forget everything you’re doing.
“When you hear your child’s life is at risk it changes things. Our lives are nice and all but we’re all decaying and we’re all going six feet down at some point. It’s all about the kids of the future and looking out for them and raising them to make the world better.
“What we do out here is great for the community and it’s fun but a human life is the most important thing,” he said.
Treacy also praised the club’s players for their backing of the initiative.
“That’s just the culture we have. We don’t go to our players and ask these things of them. We mentioned what we were doing to the players and we had guys standing up asking what they can do to give back.
“We really have an incredible group here. We talk about culture and continuity but it’s hard to put into words what that is but when you have events like this that’s what that culture is and that’s what that continuity is.”
Meanwhile, Fyffes managing director Ger Cunningham said he is hopeful that the jersey will raise the profile of the good work that is carried out on a daily basis at Temple Street.
“It’s a proud day for me as a local man. Dundalk is my pride and joy but from a company point of view as well it’s the right thing to do.
“We’ve been working on this since Christmas and in fairness all the parties were very easy to work with. It was a matter of getting permission from the FAI as well but we got that pretty quickly too. I think it’s a great idea and a great cause. Hopefully now we get a good run in the cup.
“I’ve heard nothing but great stories about Temple Street. I’ve been there and seen what they do. Our chairman has been on their board for a long time as well. It’s a great cause. No one wants to be there but when they are there and they’re called upon they always act very fast.
“The winners here will really be the kids,” he said.
The new third kit is available now for pre-order on dundalkfc.com, priced €55 for adults and €45 for kids.