Friday, 24th February 2017
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Lee Power excited about the season ahead

Lee Power, the new owner and chairman of Waterford FC was present at the game against Galway United at the RSC on Wednesday night last and the following morning he spoke about the past few months, which needless to say have proved to be a roller-coaster ride for all supporters of the club and of course the management personnel of the four teams and the new playing staff. Lee was bullish about the coming season and indeed for the long term future of the club. “A lot has happened since I last spoke to the media but I’m pleased about how things are shaping up,” said Lee before continuing.

“Obviously, we have Pat (Fenlon) and Rennie (Alan Reynolds) in looking after the team and we’ve a lot of players signed. There is a lot of things going on behind the scenes.“We’ve had a lot of meetings in Dublin with the FAI but it seems that we are finally getting there so we’re just gearing ourselves up for the start of the new season. I think that both Pat and Alan have done great in attracting quality players to the club and these are Premier division players.“You have seen a lot of players deciding to drop down and come to Waterford. I think that’s testament to the management team. We have a project and a vision for Waterford Football Club. I see Waterford as one of the biggest football clubs in Ireland but unfortunately, we’re in League One at the moment.“We’re hoping to get out of the division next season and in years to come, I want us to be one of the major powers in Irish soccer.

We haven’t finished with the signings either as Pat still feels that we have three or four more players to come in and hopefully those signings will also capture the imagination.“To be honest we just need the city and county to come out. We’re trying to put a team on the pitch but there’s no guarantees that we’re going to achieve what we’re trying to do and win the title. We’re definitely going to need the help of the local community as well as the people of the city and county of Waterford.The new owner is adamant that the RSC needs to be a fortress. “We were talking last night at the game against Galway that we need a siege mentality at home. We don’t want the away fans enjoying coming to Waterford and we want to make the people of Waterford City and County proud of what we’re trying to do.“We need to create an atmosphere at the RSC. We’ll bring in a commercial manager very soon and we’ll be hoping to tap into the local business community.

Waterford have been starved of success over the last ten years so we want to bring the good times back. The only way we can do that is everyone engaging and been proud.“I’m sure that people will see that we’re trying our best to do that. Season tickets are at record sales level for the club which is just fantastic but it’s important that we keep the momentum going until the start of the season and hopefully that will get us across the line come the end of the season. “The beauty of Waterford FC is that we have so much going on with our first team, Under 19 team, Under 17 team and soon our Under 15. We wanted to start again and that was the reason for the rebranding of the club so that was important.“We had a high level of debt but that has now been cleared so that’s now given a feel-good factor to people. I think that the big attraction now is the kids. They want to grow now. It’s like a farmer getting a bit of land and they plant the seeds. That’s what we’re trying to give these kids.“In years to come we want to be able to nurture the best local talent and take the pick of the best National talent. That’s what we want to achieve.

We want to be the major force but it’s going to take a long time and a lot of hard work however you got to have a go on a dream. That’s what the club and I intend to do.“I think also we have the best coaches in this area and we have the best young players in this catchment area. I think that we need to give them the platform here before they think about England. We need to make this a big club where they want to stay here for longer and when the time is right, of course they can go.Powr is under no illusions that it will be a tough challenge to get out of the division this season. “It’s going to be difficult. There is a lot of clubs that have thrown money at things and there’s no guarantees. Don’t get me wrong we’re going to have the stronger budget but we also have very talented people in management.“I have to say that they have spent the money and budget wisely so far but we aren’t finished yet. We must give ourselves every opportunity. Obviously, the financial backing is there to get out of this league but we’re not here for five minutes as this is a long-term project.“We need to get over this hurdle first and that’s to get out of the division but like I said we can’t do that unless we have the support of everyone locally. It’s impossible for me to do it on my own so hopefully now the business community will come behind us and support us.“I’m just hoping that the people of Waterford see that there is someone here that’s trying to do that and that they come and give us their support. The other football club I own in England (Swindon Town) things aren’t going well on the pitch and support dwindles. That’s football.“No matter what you do inside the club or no matter what you might do financially in making things stable and attractive, ultimately that little green bit on a Friday night or a Saturday afternoon is what matters. All I can do as owner and chairman is give that every opportunity than it’s over to the managements and players to deliver.“As II’m delighted to hear about the season ticket situation. I think it’s key that we get support and create an atmosphere. I think we need to talk about the whole package. It’s about what I do, the management, the players but importantly the people of the City and County.“People are asking about the jersey and so forth. We’ll have the launch of the jersey on Monday and the FAI Launch is Tuesday. We’re looking at different merchandise ideas that supporters can buy. We have people all over the world excited about the rebranding of the club which is fantastic. I know the new crest caused a lot of debate but when it was explained that was the original design right back at the birth of the club people were pleased enough. “All I can say now is that I’m buzzing and so pleased about how things have gone. I’ve been here the last few days but even last night the people that have come up and thanked us for getting involved. They are all excited and that’s nice for me. I’ve been really welcomed and I’m really excited that we can get this over the line and move on from here on in''.

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