Andy Pilley completes takeover of Waterford Football Club

Andy Pilley completes takeover of Waterford Football Club

Waterford FC have a new owner by way of Andy Pilley - the mastermind of the revolution at League One outfit Fleetwood Town.

The Englishman was at the RSC for the Blues’ win over Galway United and was also in attendance for the sides trip to league leaders Cork City.

The move seals the end of Richard Forrest’s reign – one which lasted less than a year and resulted in much disarray from the partisan support.

It’s believed that the sale price falls well beneath the €1.3m which was previously reported by the 42. This surfaced through a commercial assessment with English-based intermediaries Oakwell.


Speaking to Beat at his inaugural press conference, Pilley outlined his initial intentions for the club: “The immediate vision is one of stability and to put together a professional infrastructure which will replicate what we have in the UK.

“I think immediately what needs to happen is the football club needs to become aligned with the community – with the business community and the council,”

“It needs to make the most of what is in the offering in Waterford and the surrounding areas.

“The potential is enormous and of course, as a new owner, you look at the Irish Premier League, you look at Europe.


“But there is an order of events and first and foremost, it needs stability.”

Tilley paid £500 for Fleetwood in 2004 and successfully steered the club from the ninth tier to League One football. The club has cultivated an ethos of selling young footballers the dream - supplying the platform to showcase their talents and elevating them to a higher level.

He gauges success in a meticulous manner and attributes a solid business philosophy to the perennial progression: “The way that I measure success at my primary football club is through two things.

“One is sporting success. You wish to win as many football games as you possibly can because it’s a great feeling – it really is, I love that feeling when you’ve won.


“But the commercial reality is that the entire way the football industry works is that you do have to trade players.”

He added: “I don’t think there’s anything up with that and as long as the supporters understand that is the model of the club – while giving the club stability and continuity and financial security – then I think they will readily accept that.”

Pilley assumes control of a side that are third in the table, twelve points off of leaders Cork City. He has a squad of talented young players, a new manager and a fanbase that are tired of excuses.

Promotion has to be the number one priority and it is a view he shares: “I think first and foremost, we’ve got to do all we can to get promoted this year.

“If that doesn’t happen, we’ve got to dust ourselves down and go again.”

Waterford have gained a man who is keen for progress and keen for success. He’s an avid football fan and recognises the tremendous support the club possesses.

Read the full statement from the club below:

Waterford Football Club are delighted to confirm Andy Pilley has completed a full takeover of the club.

The entrepreneur and vastly experienced football club owner now holds a 100% stake in the business, with the investment signalling a new era for the Blues, building on the club’s history and successes.

Pilley, 52, brings more than 18 years of club ownership experience with him, having led English club Fleetwood Town to six promotions from the North West Counties Premier League to EFL League One during his time in charge. Investing heavily into the club, he has overseen a £12m into the club’s training ground, built a thriving academy which makes up a large percentage of the Cod Army’s professional players, and rebuilt their Highbury Stadium to what it is today.

The deal will see Pilley also become the club’s Chairman, with Steve Curwood (Fleetwood Town FC, CEO) and Jamie Pilley joining the board of Directors. 

On the deal, Pilley said: “This is a real honour to have acquired Waterford FC, who I believe remain one of the biggest in Irish Football. The opportunity was presented to me last week and having attended the games against Galway and Cork I was blown away by the level of support from the fans, the passion of the local people and the potential there is here at the club. 

“Having spent time around the City, the word stability is something which consistently figured high on supporters wish-lists, so that’s something which I feel is going to be hugely important going forward. We want to put a professional infrastructure into Waterford FC similar to the one we have over in the UK where we’ve had enormous success. 

“The secret of success here will be the whole city coming together. The football club needs to become aligned with the community, the supporters, the business community and the Council. For me this is a long-term investment into a club and the city. 

“In 18 years as a club owner I feel I’ve learned a lot about what is required to make a football club successful and feel myself and my senior staff can make a big impact at Waterford. 

“We can’t wait to get started!”