Shelbourne takeover by Hull City owner Acun Ilicali completed

What exactly is meant by ‘material synergy’ will be revealed when the English transfer window opens

Shelbourne have entered a new financial dimension following the takeover by Hull City owner Acun Ilicali.

“Our goal is to participate in European Cups together with Shelbourne, to achieve important successes and to bring many talents into world football,” said Ilicali on Friday morning after Acunmedya announced the purchase of a majority share in the Drumcondra club.

Ilicali is the new Shelbourne chairman with Andrew Doyle remaining at the club as vice-chairman. In April, Shels announced that a South African named Barry Mocke had become chief executive officer.

“This investment will be used to support the growth and development of the club by investing in the men’s and women’s first teams, the academy, and its facilities with an ambition to make Shelbourne FC Ireland’s most successful football club,” read a club statement. “The deal is expected to bring additional benefit as it will create material synergy between Shelbourne FC and Hull City FC, which is fully owned by Acun Ilicali.


“After the investment, existing shareholders will continue to be investors in the club and the parties will collaborate closely for the future success of the club.”

What exactly is meant by “material synergy” will be revealed when the English transfer window opens on June 14th. Shels are keen for the arrangement to be called a multi-club arrangement rather than Hull City’s feeder club.

“I am deeply impressed by the passion and motivation of the Shelbourne FC family and we believe that the club offers great potential to succeed in European football,” said Ilicali, a former sports reporter who became a media mogul, bringing shows like MasterChef, Fear Factor and Dancing with the Stars to Turkish television. “Our vision for Shelbourne is to become the leader of the League of Ireland and demonstrate consistent success in European competitions.

“We believe that our investment and commitment will shape the future of the football in our academy, which will become the most modern academy structure in Ireland.

“We want to scout, recruit and train talented prospects from all over Ireland and Europe to be part of our family. With our global expertise and vision in football, media and entertainment verticals, we aim to bring new energy to Irish football and Shelbourne FC, one of the oldest clubs in Ireland, by further strengthening the deep-rooted bond between the fans and the club, like we did in Hull City.”

Doyle added: “This is a transformational deal for Shelbourne Football Club and a huge boost to our ambitions to make Shelbourne Ireland’s most successful football club both domestically and in Europe.”

This suggests that Tolka Park – which is badly in need of modernisation – the club’s training ground facilities and the playing squad will all be improved. The club have already agreed to buy their ground back from Dublin City Council for approximately €1.2 million.

Hull City finished 15th in the Championship this season, but Ilicali's team are only in place since January 2022, with a return to the Premier League the goal in 2024. Shels will have access to Hull’s sports science, academy expertise and potentially players in search of game time.

“We need more full-time coaches,” said Shels manager Damian Duff last month. “Shamrock Rovers have the school [transition year], they’re on site a few days per week. I don’t know the ins and outs and don’t need to know but it’s about contact hours – plain and simple.

“I’d love to have so much money that its stadiums and training grounds but for me first and foremost it’s training grounds, full-time coaches and contact hours. That’s what I’d be spending my millions on before stadiums.”

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent