Groundhog Day once again for Finn Harps and Ollie Horgan

Groundhog Day once again for Finn Harps and Ollie Horgan

It’s Groundhog Day once again for Finn Harps officials and manager Ollie Horgan as they bid to put plans in place for the next season.

As has been the case over the past few years at the end of season, Horgan has been meeting with club officials to see what path lies in front of them - most notably on the financial front.

And the bottom line is that despite the trojan work of a small number of people, Harps are in a constant battle to boost their income.

Horgan has made it quite clear that to continue next season on the same budget will leave Harps with the proverbial mountain to climb.

And the stark reality is that he will be again hugely limited if he has to go into a new season with just a fraction of the budget being spent by the other nine teams in the Premier Division of the SSE Airtricity League.

On Monday, members of the board met with Horgan for an initial exchange of views of where the club stands and what the demands of next season will bring.

In a statement, the club said: “Following a candid but positive meeting” the Finn Harps board and Ollie Horgan “have agreed to continue discussions later this week.”

It added: “Everyone at the club is aware of the need to build on current fundraising and commercial revenues for the 2020 season and we look forward to announcing new initiatives in the coming weeks.”

However, it is not a given that Horgan will be manager again next season.

It is understood that he has some firm views on things that he would like to see in place to facilitate him in what will be a battle from the start to stay up.

Last year, the club held a series of meetings around the county in order to try and spread its base and attract additional finance.

A number of fresh initiatives were tried, with varying degrees of success.

But the blunt reality is that Harps just do not have the clout to attract the sort of players Horgan would like in order to strengthen the squad.

As one club source put it, “you can only go to the well so many times.”

And therein lies the problem. All too often it is the same people who are approached to support the club financially.

Harps are far more dependent on gate receipts that any other club in the Premier League, and do not have the same commercial sponsorship.

The real task is to see if some new avenues can be explored to bring in more money.

Meanwhile, the club is also faced with a scenario where all the players are now out of contract.

While only a handful are likely to attract the interest of other clubs, Harps will be anxious to tie down the managerial position as soon as possible.

Obviously, if Horgan is not in charge, that would open up a whole new process.

Many followers of the club are of the opinion that the Galway man will be at the helm again next season, not least because of the fact that he under him Harps have constantly punched above their weight.

But despite his unquenchable thirst for the game, Horgan is also frustrated by the limitations imposed upon him.

Indeed, it was a minor miracle that he was able to attract players like Australian Harry Ascroft and American Joshua Smith to the club last season.

And with the retirement of Raffaele Cretaro, there is a void for an experienced player of his ilk as well.

The next few weeks will be hugely important for the club, and the sooner matters can be tied down for next season the better it will be. The last thing the club wants is uncertainty and a lack of activity over the Christmas period.

Harps, by the way, will probably be back in training in just over seven weeks time!

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