Thousandaire to the rescue ... hopefully

THE ‘Thousandaire’, the big answer to Kildare GAA’s financial woes? It better be, it better work because otherwise the sums just won’t add up, writes Ruth O’Brien.

THE ‘Thousandaire’, the big answer to Kildare GAA’s financial woes? It better be, it better work because otherwise the sums just won’t add up, writes Ruth O’Brien.

The ‘Thousandaire’, for those who may have had their heads buried in the sand over the last few months, is a fundraising idea that will, hopefully, drag Kildare from the doldrums. The idea is to get 300 donations of 1,000 and make 300,000 and the launch is expected to take place next week.

It’s a more than vital fund-raiser, squeaky bum time as the great Alex Ferguson would say. It needs to work, it has to work and one man that has complete faith in the project is Kildare’s commercial manager Marty McEvoy, pictured far right.

It was unveiled by auditor Brendan Waters last Wednesday night that only E3,000 has been brought in by the ‘Thousandaire’ thus far but McEvoy insisted he has pledges to the value of E50,000, monies that will be handed over by kind donors when the fundraiser is officially launched but there will be a long way to go thereafter.

“We knew we needed a radical and major fundraiser whereby crying the poor mouth, bucket in hand, we need someone to dig us out of the manure basically and the ‘Thousandaire’ is just that. Although we’ve only got E3,000 in I’m pleased to announce that we have up to E50,000 commitments and pledges already. Those people have said to me that the minute the fundraiser is launched they will hand over the money.

“I’m also pleased to say that following our trip to the States I got a phone call today saying that a sum of $5,000 will be transferred in the next week and that’s only from a few emails I have sent since I got back. I do believe there is more potential in the States,” insisted McEvoy.

The clubs of Kildare are under enough financial pressure already, what with running their own affairs and the the levy to pay back loans used to build the centre of excellence at Hawkfield, so they won’t have to dip in to their coffers to help with the ‘Thousandaire’. However, McEvoy does have one request from the clubs.

“I believe that the ‘Thousandaire’ should not be aimed at the clubs, I personally don’t think the onus should be put on the clubs to collect that for us because quite simply they are paying E100,000 every year as a club levy. At the launch I will be asking the executives of the clubs to do one job for me for the ‘Thousandaire’ and that will be to give me five names of five people within their club who they feel would be worth my while talking to. I’m happy to dedicate the next six or eight weeks from the launch to spending my day on the phone in order to sell the brand and get the pledges that we need.

“I think we have to do it and there’s no point in beating around the bush. We need to go in aggressively and proactively to every man, woman and child in order to bail us out. The reality is the years ahead of us are tough. Clubs have enough to do managing their own but I got two individuals that came up to me in the last week and said there’s two names and when I rang them I got a pledge straight away. That person knew that these two people were mad Kildare people but I didn’t know that so that’s why I need assistance from clubs,” admitted McEvoy.

Of course if an individual or a business can’t afford E1,000, Kildare won’t turn their noses up at other smaller sums of money. To borrow a phrase from an advertising drive from a prominent supermarket, ‘every little helps’.

“Similarly I had people tell me in the last week that they can’t afford E1,000 but they said they would give E300 at the end of the month. We will not say no to that,” admitted the Athy man.

Many believe the Kildare senior footballers are close to some major silverware and McEvoy believes if preparations are curtailed due to lack of money then it could end up hurting Kildare even more down the line.

“I firmly believe what we need is to maintain the momentum we’ve built over the last four or five years. Yes, hands up, we’ve mismanaged our funds, let there be no two ways about that, but it wasn’t done intentionally. At times when you’re seeking the Holy Grail you keep pushing out the boat and at times it’s hard to say no.

“However, we cannot stop now in terms of our preparation for what we need to do as a county not just for this year or next year but for the future.

“We all have an obligation to get us back to where we want to be here. We don’t want to be here every month for the next five years talking about how we’re going to get out of trouble. What is over is over and what’s ahead is the most important thing now,” insisted McEvoy.

What lies ahead is a lot of gruelling fundraising but the ‘Thousandaire’ is something the County Board clearly believe in and it’s something they have to believe in because all the proverbial eggs seem to be in the one basket.