Galway United FC members have voted to accept a proposed takeover by the billionaire Comer brothers after a meeting held at The Connacht Hotel last night.
The SSE Airtricity League First Division side already receive six-figure support from brothers Luke and Brian Comer as part of a sponsorship agreement which is crucial in the running of the club.
The Comer brothers have committed to inject an initial €500,000 into Galway United this year should members of the supporters’ trust tonight accept their proposal to purchase an 85% stake in the club.
The billionaire property developers, from Glenamaddy, have been the main sponsors of the League of Ireland club since 2013.
In a letter sent to delegates ahead of last night’s vote, they quantified this “donation” to be €1.8m but insist significant investment is required at this “critical juncture in its development”.
In a blueprint that involves the First Division club having a squad “to push on the top tier of the Premier Division”, Luke Comer writes: “The club needs on-field success. Galway needs on-field success. The players coming through our Academy need that football career roadmap. The club needs an ownership stake in training facilities. The right structures have to be put in place both on and off the pitch to drive both financial success and financial viability.
“All of this requires significant financial investment and that is why we want the option to acquire majority ownership.
“Our commitment to Galway United has been demonstrated over eight years and our business track record over 40 years speaks for itself. We fully recognise that taking a long-term view over several years that you need to invest to drive success.
“Whilst everyone accepts there is not an endless tap of funds, we are prepared to make that future financial commitment to invest. For 2022, that investment will be approximately €500,000.”
The 40-acre site Mountain South side in Athenry, purchased by the Comers for less than €1m from the GAA in 2017, forms part of their vision, as does improving their venue, Eamonn Deacy Park, which is owned by Galway FA.
The prospective owners have also confirmed they want the supporters, through the co-operative scheme, to retain a shareholding.
“Without doubt, supporters and volunteers will continue to be a key element in building our future success,” added Luke.
Galway are currently second in the First Division, three points behind Cork City with a game in hand, heading into Friday’s fixtures.
The club released a statement last night saying: “The members of Galway United Friends Co-operative Society voted in favour of the motion for Comer Group to have an option to acquire 85% ownership of the club. We extend our thanks to Luke & Brian Comer for their support of Galway United.”