Finn Harps are inviting suggestions and fundraising ideas from supporters in order to generate extra revenue for the club next season.
Harps are expected to offer manager Ollie Horgan an increased playing budget for the 2017 season.
However, with Harps likely to have only one home league match against Derry City next season, the club are facing the real prospect of having to deal with a drop in gate receipts before a ball is even kicked.
Last season, Harps played Derry City twice at Finn Park with the first match, the opening game of the campaign, a sell-out.
Next season, it’s expected that the league will organise the fixtures so that Derry have two home games with their north west neighbours, meaning a drop in gate receipts for Harps of an estimated €30,000.
Harps also played 17 of their 33 league games at Finn Park last season. That means that next year, the likelihood is that they will only have 16 home games.
The league will also start at least a week earlier next season, meaning that Harps will have to find an extra week of salaries for the playing squad.
Even though it’s still over three months until the new season kicks off in late February, it’s an issue that’s not lost on the club’s Board of Directors.
Finn Harps' Commercial Officer Aidan Campbell said the board are well aware of certain difficulties that might well be on the horizon.
“To that end, we have been discussing ways and means of raising extra revenue for the club,” he said.
“As everyone knows, the club’s budget for the year ahead will have to be approved by the FAI’s Licensing Department. It’s up to us to outline exactly how we plan to generate income for the season. There are big issues to be addressed if Harps are to build on the progress made over the last two seasons at both senior and underage level.”
Mr. Campbell said Harps did exceptionally well to manage to stay in the Premier Division this season and he said supporters, businesses and sponsors all played their part by getting behind the club.
“But I think everyone accepts that next year could be even harder for a club like ourselves to stay in the Premier Division,” he said.
“When you look at Limerick coming up from the First Division and see how well they are set-up to challenge in this league, you think it’s not going to get any easier.
“Drogheda United came up in place of Wexford Youths and they’ll have a decent budget and a greater access to players in and around Dublin.”
Harps will hold discussions with volunteers and supporters in the coming weeks.
The club hopes to then announce a plan of action to achieve premier licensing and to generate the revenue the board members feel is required to give Ollie Horgan’s team the best possible chance going into the Premier Division season.
“The supporters have been fantastic,” Mr. Campbell added.
“It's great for everyone to have another Premier Division season to look forward to but yes, Finn Harps will need the support and help from the public again more than ever.”