Ramblers get the green light to return to the First Division
The return of Cobh Ramblers to the League of Ireland will be confirmed today with the club set to be included when provisional fixtures for the forthcoming First Division are published around noon.
The move comes after the FAI confirmed yesterday that the club had been granted the licence required to participate in the league and the PFAI revealed it had concluded a deal to ensure Ramblers would settle all outstanding debts to its members from the time of their previous involvement.
The club was in the Premier Division until 2008 when it ran into major financial difficulties and was refused a licence for the following season.
It subsequently competed in the A Championship and had, more recently, been represented in the under-19 league.
The players from that side will form the backbone of its new first division side according to manager Dave Hill who insists the club will proceed cautiously after having successfully regained its league status.
“The expense will be kept to a minimum,” he says. “We are not going to make the same mistakes that we made before. The lads may lack a bit of experience but the under-19 league has been very tough this year so I don’t think the step up will be quite so big.
“There’ll be no money to bring players in, though; not this year anyway. We’ll just be looking to consolidate our place in the league, to get our foot back in the door.”
Hill expressed gratitude to Cork City for their recent support with the Turner’s Cross outfit providing advice and agreeing to play a pre-season friendly at St Colman’s Park.
Ramblers are hoping that a number of other prominent clubs will follow their lead with visits by the likes of Shamrock Rovers, it is believed, having the potential to bring out the club’s latent support.
The PFAI, meanwhile, have welcomed the return of Ramblers.
“We need to have a Cobh down there that’s going to provide employment for our members,” said the union’s general secretary Stephen McGuinness.
“It might not happen this year (when the team will be amateur) but there are a lot of players from the area who mightn’t be quite good enough to play for Cork or be looking for an alternative for whatever reason and Cobh’s return should be good for them over the coming years.”
Under the terms of its deal, which had to be concluded in order for Ramblers to get through the licensing process, around €25,000 in back money will be paid to former squad members with a portion of the money, less than half, being divided amongst union members in the coming weeks and the balance being distributed to all who played by this time next year.