With clubs in both the Carling Premiership and particularly the League of Ireland struggling financially, Dundalk boss Sean Connor feels an All Ireland League is the only way full-time football can survive.
Only recently fellow League of Ireland boss Pat Fenlon called for an All Ireland league to be set up and Connor, whose side lost 3-0 at Derry City last Friday night, agrees with the ex-Linfield favourite.
“Firstly I think full-time football can be sustainable, if it's done in the correct manner,” explained the Belfast man.
“I think we have to look at the league and see who is in the league, but to be honest if we want full-time football then we have to have an All Ireland League
“I think it's going to create bigger gates, generate better interest from television and better interest from both the public and sponsors. I have my own view, which is that there should be an All Ireland League, because I just think that financially with television, sponsors and the public it just makes common sense.
“Whether it can ever happen for political reasons or whether it's the fact that we have two associations involved and there is loads of reasons why it can't happen, but as a football man and a football coach I want to pit my wits against the best. With a small island like Ireland, we might only have enough teams and people in this country to sustain a ten team full-time league and in my opinion the only way that can happen is an All Ireland league.”
He also feels that if any cross-border league was to get up and running, then it should be staged like the current League of Ireland system and play summer football.
“I think summer football is good, for the simple fact we don't have the grounds or training grounds to cope to be playing in the middle of the winter,” said the ex-Bohemians manager.
“The summer football also helps with our (League of Ireland) European performances, which obviously helps with the co-efficient and helps with money coming into the league.
“So from that point of view I would say summer football and get an All Ireland league up and running, but how we get there is the million dollar answer.”
Connor concedes that things are certainly getting tight in terms of cash for the County Louth men.
“I have to admit that sponsorship is one of the things that we have been struggling with this season,” he added. “This country right now is in the middle of a big, big recession and the first thing to go is the sponsorship for football teams because at the end of the day people look at things and see what they are getting out of it.
“I have put a plan to my board for next season, for the budget that I wanted and it still keeps full-time football
“I know that we came to Derry City last Friday night and their budget is nearly double ours and if we are struggling with our budget then Derry are struggling with theirs, but then you look at Bohs who are spending even more. The bottom line is if we are struggling with our budget then everyone above us will be struggling with theirs.”