Last-minute talks save Air­drie from ad­min

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser - - Front Page - Mark Pirie

Air­drieo­ni­ans were plunged into tur­moil this week af­ter a cash cri­sis left fans fear­ing for the club’s fu­ture.

The Ad­ver­tiser un­der­stands that chair­man Jim Bal­lan­tyne threat­ened to re­sign af­ter the Sup­port­ers Trust re­fused his de­mand to hand over £ 10k to help pay play­ers’ wages.

Air­drie were brought back from the brink of ad­min­is­tra­tion this week af­ter the club chair­man threat­ened to walk away.

Sources close to the Air­drie Sup­port­ers Trust re­vealed that Jim Bal­lan­tyne de­manded £10k set aside for chil­dren’s sea­son tick­ets in as­so­ci­a­tion with the KitAid project be paid im­me­di­ately to bridge a gap in cash­flow and help cover this month’s wages.

The funds are nor­mally paid to the club through­out the sea­son, and when the Trust re­fused to pay up he threat­ened to leave the Di­a­monds.

Ma­jor­ity share­holder Tom Wother­spoon stepped in to ne­go­ti­ate a com­pro­mise be­tween of­fi­cials and the Trust on Mon­day – with the gap hav­ing to be plugged by to­day ( Wed). They have now come to an agree­ment on the bud­get that will take them through the up­com­ing sea­son, with Wother­spoon and Bal­lan­tyne both in­volved in cov­er­ing costs.

It is un­der­stood Wother­spoon is con­tin­u­ing to try to sell his shares and that there will be Bal­lan­tyne in­volve­ment at New Broom­field as long as the ma­jor­ity share­holder is back­ing the club.

Bo t h Ba ll a n t y n e and Wother­spoon did not re­spond to the Ad­ver­tiser’s re­quest to pro­vide com­ment. How­ever, a spokesman for the Trust de­scribed talks as “pos­i­tive”.

In a state­ment, the Trust said: “As many of you will know, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Air­drieo­ni­ans Sup­port­ers’ Trust have had sev­eral meet­ings with the club’s board of di­rec­tors and ma­jor­ity share­holder.

“Th­ese meet­ings have fo­cused on plans for the com­ing sea­son and be­yond. Re­cent meet­ings have fo­cused on im­me­di­ate cash­flow is­sues.

“We are pleased to say that th­ese is­sues have been re­solved and there are now a num­ber of el­e­ments in place to se­cure the short, medium and long-term vi­a­bil­ity of the club.

“In the ab­sence of solid facts, there has been a lot of spec­u­la­tion and con­jec­ture. This is nat­u­ral.

“We apol­o­gise that it has taken time to be able to share de­tails with our mem­bers and the wider fan­base.

“But much of our dis­cus­sions were fluid and del­i­cate and it was im­por­tant that we were con­fi­dent they had been re­solved be­fore we shared them.”

The Trust will now hold a meet­ing with fans and chair­man to­mor­row (July 6) at the Air­drie Work­ing Men’s So­cial Club at 7.30pm.

The group hope to dis­cuss plans for a new man­ager and for the play­ing staff this sea­son.

Fi­nances will also be a hot topic in­clud­ing bud­gets for this sea­son and ma­jor­ity share­holder Wother­spoon’s plans.

The Trust added: “It is and will al­ways be our pri­mary ob­jec­tive to sup­port the health and on­go­ing de­vel­op­ment of the club.

“The fan­base and the trust have a piv­otal role to play this sea­son and be­yond.

“We thank you for your pa­tience and look for­ward to see­ing as many of you as pos­si­ble on Thurs­day.”

Quit threat Jim Bal­lan­tyne

Res­cue Ma­jor­ity share­holder Tom

Talks Jim Bal­lan­tyne had threat­ened to quit

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