This is How it all Began!
Buying Clydebank FC is one of three options being pursued by Airdrie United as they attempt to retain senior football in the Lanarkshire town.
The Bankies' administrators have told BBC Sport Online that they would consider a bid from the rival club.
But neighbours Albion Rovers and Hamilton Academical could also emerge as takeover targets should a bid for Clydebank fail.
Airdrie United were defeated by Unibond League club Gretna in this week's vote to replace Airdrieonians in the Scottish Football League.
We still have first option to buy
UCS spokesman David Munro
It seemed to signal the end of 124 years of senior football in Airdrie.
But prospective United chairman Jim Ballantyne says that he has not yet given up hope and is pursuing "three viable options".
One of those is buying Second Division Clydebank, a club without a home since 1996 but who have retained their position within the SFL despite having teetered on the same financial brink as Airdrie for several years.
Fans group United Clydebank Supporters are poised to conclude a management agreement with administrator Bryan Jackson to run the club for the coming season.
UCS hope to run the club while raising the funds necessary to buy Clydebank from owner John Hall and have rejected a request for talks with Ballantyne.
But, while Jackson has not yet had an approach from Ballantyne, his company would prefer to have a buyer in place for the coming season.
"It is football, so I never rule out anything," he told BBC Sport Online. "I have an open mind."
UCS spokesman David Munro revealed that he had been approached by Airdrie fans' leader Les Jones, who had suggested either a merger to create Clydebank and Airdrie United playing out of the Excelsior Stadium, or a takeover, with Clydebank playing in Airdrie until the name could be changed.
"However they dress it up, it is a takeover attempt and we will not be talking to them," said Munro.
"John Hall and his representative have both confirmed that we still have first option to buy.
"Only if we cannot raise funds by the end of next season will they look for a new buyer, although I can't speak for the administrator."
Ballantyne has refused to say what his three options are, although he has ruled out a move to English football.
Gretna's place in the Unibond League has already been filled by Kendal Town.
Airdrie Utd will battle back from vote blow
Sources suggest that Ballantyne could turn his attention to Hamilton should his Clydebank bid fail.
Former broadcaster Jock Brown is in place at Ballast Stadium as interim chief executive but has as yet been unable to complete his takeover of the club.
And the Second Division club's players are threatening to strike because of wages unpaid by the present owners. Airdrie United had already reached an agreement to groundshare with Albion Rovers had they won Tuesday's vote.
Rovers must be tempted to move from ramshackle Cliftonhill Stadium in Coatbridge to the now vacant Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie.
The near £500,000 that Ballantyne's group had promised to put into paying Airdrieonians' debts could now be used as an added incentive to instigate a merger or takeover.
But, with only £160,000 required to buy Clydebank, the homeless club are under greatest threat.
Airdrie United given green light
Airdrie United will become the Scottish Football League's newest club after a proposal to take over Clydebank was agreed in principle.
The SFL's management committee unanimously gave the go-ahead for Clydebank to undergo a change of name, strip and stadium at a meeting on Monday.
History of Clydebank
That paves the way for the consortium behind Airdrie United to conclude a takeover of the Second Division club, which has been in administration for some time.
Consortium leader Jim Ballantyne, who saw his bid for admission to the league rejected in favour of Gretna, will now meet Clydebank's adminstrators on Tuesday to try to conclude the takeover.
This is nothing more than the wilful destruction of an innocent football club
United Clydebank Supporters
"This is a vital step on the road to bringing senior football back to Airdrie," said Ballantyne.
"There is a lot to be done in a very short space of time, but hard work has never seemed so appealing."
SFL secretary Peter Donald admitted he was sorry to see the name of Clydebank disappear.
"The name Clydebank will not continue in Scottish football and that is a matter of great regret as Clydebank had a great role to play for many years," said Donald.
Bankies' administrator Bryan Jackson admitted to BBC Sport Online last week that if the league approved the takeover, he would have no choice but to accept it, despite the demise of the Clydebank name.
Jackson said: "That is the only offer of cash on the table and as my job is to pay off the creditors, I would have to accept it."
But David Munro of the United Clydebank Supporters, who had a management agreement in place with Jackson for the season ahead, was distraught at the demise of his club.
Sandy Stewart (left) will manage Airdrie Utd
He described the move as "nothing more than the wilful destruction of an innocent football club".
"If this takeover goes ahead, the treachery of Airdrie United will be remembered for many years to come but also, of wider concern to other supporters, a franchise system for Scottish football will have been validated," Munro said in a statement.
"This is not the way they should be going about things. The fans of Clydebank Football Club have done nothing wrong and do not deserve to be treated in this way."
Ballantyne expressed his sorrow for the Bankies' situation.
"I am truly sorry for the Clydebank fans who desperately wanted their team to continue, but in reality this was not going to happen.
"We understand they have been looking for a buyer for close to four years, without success. We are the only offer they have had.
"We already have a management structure in place with Sandy Stewart and Brian Rice, and once everything is signed and sealed with the Clydebank administrators they will be going flat out to have us ready for the start of the season."
Airdrie United to seal takeover
Airdrie United's takeover of Second Division Clydebank should be sealed by Thursday or Friday, according to the Bankies' administrator Bryan Jackson.
Airdrie United chairman Jim Ballantyne was given the go-ahead for the buyout by the Scottish Football League on Monday.
Ballantyne and Jackson held talks to tie up the deal on Tuesday morning, and while neither foresee any problems, it will not be completed until the end of the week.
Jackson also told BBC Scotland that he had received two last-minute offers to buy Clydebank from other parties, but stressed that he could not consider such offers at this stage.
But Clydebank fans are outraged by what they view as the hijacking of their team by another.
We have gone from a 10,000 all-seater stadium and an average gate of over 1,850 to extinction
David Munro, spokesman for United Clydebank Supporters, said: "Each and every Clydebank fan was devastated by the decision sanctioning the destruction of the Bankies by the Scottish Football League.
"UCS had set up a fans' trust to buy the club and a management agreement was in place with PKF (administrators), which had been seen as a bright new beginning."
Munro said he was shocked that a fellow football club would act in such a way.
He added that he had asked Ballantyne for the transfer of Clydebank's name, crest and kit in order that UCS can explore the possibility of starting up again as a junior club or forging a link with Yoker Athletic or Dumbarton FC.
Munro also listed the unfortunate series of events of the past six years, which the club had survived, but ultimately contributed to their demise.
"We have gone from a 10,000 all-seater stadium and an average gate of over 1,850 to extinction at the hands of Airdrie.
"In between, the Steedman family sold off the ground, John Hall and David Low tried to relocate us to Dublin, Sandy Moffat tried to move us to Carlisle, along with other shameful, madcap and lunatic schemes."
Bankies boss offered Airdrie job
Airdrie United manager Sandy Stewart has offered Clydebank boss Kenny Brannigan a post as player-coach.
Brannigan found himself out of a job at the beginning of the week when the Scottish Football League paved the way for Airdrie United to take over the Bankies.
The players Brannigan had lined up for next season have also been offered training facilities by Stewart, and some could earn contracts with the new club.
Stewart told the Daily Record he was confident of having a squad assembled by the start of the new season.
"Obviously I have my own players in mind that I am going to bring in, but we will see what develops," Stewart told the Record.
"I know Kenny well and he came in and trained at Airdrie last season and I feel he is someone who can do a job for me."
Late lifeline for Bankies
The consortium fighting to save Clydebank from takeover have been given a Monday deadline to raise the funds needed to preserve the club's Scottish League status.
The writing appeared to be on the wall for the Bankies when the SFL's management committee approved in principle a bid to take control of the Second Division club by Jim Ballantyne's proposed Airdrie United.
However, the administrator attending to the beleaguered club has been informed that the United Clydebank Supporters group has the ability to come up with the £160,000 needed to for their favourites to continue in their present guise.
Administrator Bryan Jackson of PKF told the Scotsman: "The Clydebank people are trying to put the funds together to come in and retain Clydebank as a club. I have now set a deadline of close of business on Monday for them to do that.
"I am still progressing with the Airdrie United bid for Clydebank at the moment, but there are a few administrative and technical problems to overcome before it can be completed.
"No-one has preferred bidder status but, as we speak, I would say the Airdrie United bid is still the front-runner. Having said that, I have no doubt about how genuine the intentions are of the Clydebank people and they are trying hard to come up with the necessary finance.
"My agenda is simply to get a dividend back to Clydebank's creditors."
Airdrie buy Bankies
Airdrie United chairman Jim Ballantyne has been successful in his bid to buy out Clydebank.
The newly-formed Airdrie United had already been given the go-ahead by the Scottish Football League to take over the doomed Second Division Club.
Bankies fans defiant
The United Clydebank Supporters lodged an 11th hour rival offer in the hope of saving the club's name.
But Bryan Jackson, corporate recovery partner of administrators PKF, said the decision to accept Ballantyne's offer was simply because they were the highest bidders.
He said: "I received two offers, the highest one being from Airdrie Football Club Limited.
Airdrie target Bankies takeover
"As Nominee of Clydebank FC Limited, my primary duty is to the creditors and, accordingly, having taken legal advice, I accepted the highest offer received.
"I sympathise that the Clydebank-based bid was unsuccessful, but unfortunately there was going to have to be one loser.
The United Clydebank Supporters are due to meet on Thursday to discuss 'the future' of the club and Jackson was quick to praise their support.
"I would like to publicly record my appreciation to David Munro of the United Clydebank Supporters, who has assisted me in keeping the club alive in the last 20 months.
"I regret that his efforts have been unsuccessful in retaining Clydebank as is, but I was obliged to accept the highest offer."
Airdrie want Kenny Brannigan as coach
Airdrie United will now take Clydebank's place in the Second Division at the start of the coming season and play at Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie.
The stadium is now vacant after the liquidation of First Division club Airdrieonians.
The new club say that they would employ Clydebank player-boss Kenny Brannigan as a player-coach.
Former Clydebank general manager Mick Oliver was the man spearheading the hunt for the cash and Clydebank supporters remained hopeful that his bid to prevent a takeover would prevail.
Sadly, it was not to be and Clydebank will now join Third Lanark and, more recently Airdrieonians, in the obituary pages of Scottish football history.
|Thread Tools||Search this Thread|
|Display Modes||Rate This Thread|
All times are GMT +1. The time now is 16:17.