Dermot Desmond invests €2m in Shamrock Rovers

Desmond will take 25 per cent stake in Dublin club

Shamrock Rovers have confirmed that businessman Dermot Desmond is to take a 25 per cent stake in the Dublin club in return for an investment that is believed to be worth €2 million.

The move will have to be approved by an EGM to be called in November but the proposal seems to have been well received at an information meeting held on Saturday at Tallaght stadium where around 150 members were given an outline of the plan and would be expected to be passed with the required majority.

At Saturday’s meeting a statement from Desmond, in which the billionaire provided personal assurances that his intention is not to profit from his involvement with the club, was read out.

The 69 year-old was quoted by Rovers as saying that he would “expect any positive future cash flow generated to be reinvested in the club such that all stakeholders (including supporters, players, coaching staff, management and sponsors etc . . .) will benefit. Desmond stated that his sole motivation in considering this investment is to advance the cause of Shamrock Rovers.

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“Mr Desmond,” the statement continued, “is especially interested in supporting Shamrock Rovers’ ambitious plans to further develop the club’s Academy and building on the very strong foundations laid by the club in recent years.

“Mr Desmond sees any involvement with Shamrock Rovers as being more akin to a trustee than a shareholder. He believes that the proposed investment would put the club on a sound financial footing, providing stability to allow the long term benefits of the club’s Academy plan to bear fruit and to afford Shamrock Rovers the continued opportunity to credibly pursue success on the pitch.”

The board of the club will, it is understood, be restructured to give Desmond representation at board level. At present the nine directorships are divided between a group representing the fans who have financially backed the club since 2005 and lifelong supporter Ray Wilson who injected considerable funds to allow the development of its academy in 2016.

The interest of Desmond, already the largest single shareholder in Celtic FC and previously a major stakeholder in Manchester United, will be seen as a major coup for a club that is desperate to compete with Dundalk whose five titles in six seasons, the last couple under American ownership, had threatened to put the club a long way out in front of the League of Ireland’s chasing pack.

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Industry and Employment Correspondent at The Irish Times