The recession in the world economy is starting to bite in Irish football with two top-flight clubs taking drastic action to survive in the middle of the 2008 campaign.
Galway United FC and Sligo Rovers FC have both axed players from their wage bill to cut costs during a financially difficult season. The former's plight is summed up by the fact that their 37-year-old manager, former Republic of Ireland international Jeff Kenna, has come out of retirement and registered himself as a player to bulk up his squad after the enforced departures of six first-team regulars.
The club's chief executive, Nick Leeson, said: "We have overspent. The budget for players was increased by over 50 per cent for the 2008 season and without a similar increase in revenue we were heading for a problem. Mistakes have been made, many of them mine and the current board's, but what is important now is to make sure we learn from those mistakes and plan appropriately for the future."
However, Kenna believes the club, who moved off the bottom of the table on Friday, can still beat the drop. "The recent negotiations were not something I envisaged happening when I joined the club but I am glad most of it is over and I can now focus on the job. We still have a squad that is good enough to survive in this league and that is what I will be making sure happens."
Sligo, by contrast, have been prospering in the top half of the Premier Division but financial worries have forced them to sell or release five players while the club have appealed to the local population and business community to find the €130,000 they need to keep afloat in the short term. "Our priority at the moment is to make sure that the club survives," said manager Paul Cook. "Unfortunately the funds and wages aren't there." The problems are no better in the lower divisions with the entire playing staff at second-tier Waterford United FC agreeing to take a wage cut to help their outfit survive.
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