Brian Ainscough was confirmed as the club’s new owner on Thursday afternoon.
The Boston-based businessman spoke to club media officer Gavin McLaughlin after the takeover was rubberstamped.
You can watch the full interview on our YouTube page while we have some of the excerpts from it below.
How did the deal come about?
BA: I know the people at STATSports because of my business in America and I’ve become good friends and business partners with Sean O’Connor, in particular. I knew that Sean had been looking for investors to come on board at Dundalk and I sent them one or two people like that from America. In the last month or so, I got talking to Sean a little bit more in-depth about where the club is going. Obviously I keep an eye on the League of Ireland because I was down in Kerry and I was pretty happy down there but when I found out where Sean was, I said maybe it’s something that I’d be very interested in. So it came off the cuff in that way. That was say, four or five weeks ago, so it did come around quickly.
BA: I got a taste of the League of Ireland through Home Farm before I went to America in 1983. I would home during the year and I actually played down the street with Drogheda United so I always had a taste and I always wanted to do something back here. That’s why I started off with Kerry but then I got this opportunity. Dundalk is one of the top clubs in Ireland for as long as I remember. I could name some of the coaches and some of the players that came through here, but it was always one of the top, top clubs. I’m a competitor and I wanted an opportunity to be with one of the top clubs and Dundalk, with all of its history and stuff like that, was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
Will you be seeking investment?
BA: In the short term, the best way for me to get this over the line was to be the 100% owner from a business standpoint but I have investors that I’ve talked with over the last four or five weeks and I’ll be looking for investors to help us with the financial side of this club.
Discussions with Stephen O’Donnell…
BA: I’ve been with Stephen over the last couple of days. He’s a wonderful lad and I know he’s a legend around here but from a coaching standpoint, he’s a young guy and he’s been terrific. The fact that people are calling 2023 a poor year when we were just two points away from qualifying for Europe is a credit to the club and it’s a credit to him.
The expectations for 2024…
BA: I think if you went to every fan, all through Dundalk, they’d want to get back to Europe. That’s the goal, that we’re back in Europe and also competing for titles and winning cups. He’s been in a bit of limbo over the past few weeks but he’s off the leash now. He can get to work and talk to his players and his staff assure them that we’re in a good place and we’re ready to kick on.
On improving facilities in the future…
BA: I’ve seen most of the grounds in Ireland and most need upgrading. I don’t think Oriel Park is on its own. Shamrock Rovers have done a bit with the help of their council and hopefully, we can get some help here but my goal as we go on is to make our club the most professionally run club in Ireland. That means that we give our fans a place that they’re proud of, on the pitch, and off the pitch. We all know that the lights need to be fixed and that our academy needs a place to play. It’s a marathon, but we are in a hurry to fix some of them and get moving. I know we’ve had a lot of owners in the last decade here. I plan to be here for at least a decade and in that decade, we hope that there’s huge improvement in the facility and so forth.
Meeting the supporters…
BA: I have to jump back to Boston for the holiday season but I definitely hope to get out and see a lot of the fans in January. I know that there may have been a lack of communication here and there, but the goal is to have a meet and greet in January and get to know the fans. I know they’re really passionate and that Dundalk is a football town. I know that.
A busy Christmas ahead…
BA: I saw some of the designs of the new jerseys and they look fantastic and we have new sponsors that we’re going to be announcing pretty soon so there’s a lot of stuff going on and it’s going to be a busy Christmas season.