FINN Harps’ new 6,600 seater stadium in Stranorlar will be completed before the club moves into its new home, shareholders at last night’s AGM heard.
‘Significant’ progress has been made in recent weeks with structural work, in the form of the main stand, visible for the first time.
While some club sources had hoped the club could relocate once the 1,954-seater main stand – which houses dressing rooms and administration facilities – was completed, shareholders heard last night that the development must be finished before Harps can turn the key of the door.
“The agreement between all parties is that the stadium must be completed before Finn Harps moves over,” Stadium Development Committee member John Meenan told a low-key AGM in Jackson’s Hotel, Ballybofey.
“To change that would mean a complete re-negotiation of the contracts. As we stand it will be completely complete before the club moves over.”
A deal was struck with developers – Joseph McMenamin and Sons – which will see them granted ownership of the current Finn Park. By the end of this summer in excess of €1million will have been spent on the project.
Mr Meenan said: “The stadium is now showing real signs of progress. The plan is that the west stand will be completed by September and we have high hopes that it will happen. This progress is significant.”
The AGM in what is Harps’ 60th year was attended by just 24 people.
“It is a very disappointing turn-out for an AGM,” acting chairman Sean Quinn said.
“It wasn’t an easy year for the people involved.
“It was a tough year; the end of the year was very tough. It was probably our worst season in thirty-two years.
“We need a stronger board and we need a bigger board. There is a lot of help needed for a lot of jobs around Finn Park.
“This is not a Ballybofey club – it is a Donegal club, a north-west club and we’re appealing for the help of the whole area.”
Harps record a small trading profit of €1,114 for the year ending November 30 2013, their books boosted considerably by the €24,024 received for the transfer of former player Stephen McLaughlin from Derry City to Nottingham Forest last January.
“Without that, you would be looking at a significant loss,” accountant Seamus Devine warned.
Harps saw training facility expenses rise by €10,000, wages took a €20,000 increase from 2012, while meals, travel and accommodation jumped by around €7,000.