Ad­ver­tiser says Un­for­tu­nate tac­tics from club chair­man

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser - - News -

Trust chair­man Wil­lie Mar­shall closed last Thurs­day night’s meet­ing by telling the as­sem­bled au­di­ence of anx­ious fans it had been “il­lu­mi­nat­ing”.

It cer­tainly was – but for all the wrong rea­sons.

Club chair­man Jim Bal­lan­tyne con­firmed that Air­drieo­ni­ans are in a per­ilous po­si­tion fol­low­ing owner Tom Wother­spoon’s un­timely with­drawal of es­sen­tial fund­ing – hardly il­lu­mi­nat­ing, given the Ad­ver­tiser had al­ready re­ported that Bal­lan­tyne him­self de­manded £10k from the Trust to pay play­ers’ wages and then threat­ened to re­sign when re­fused. When our story was put to him by a sup­porter, he de­clined to con­firm it out­right, choos­ing in­stead to re­call “heated dis­cus­sions over funds” and“long nights of con­tem­pla­tion about my role at the club”.

How­ever he made no at­tempt to deny its ac­cu­racy.

For the avoid­ance of doubt, the Ad­ver­tiser con­ducted de­tailed con­ver­sa­tions with not one, not two, but three well-placed in­di­vid­u­als who all con­firmed the chair­man had in­deed asked for the five-fig­ure sum and sub­se­quently threat­ened to walk away when it wasn’t forth­com­ing.

We also tried to con­tact Mr Bal­lan­tyne for com­ment on sev­eral oc­ca­sions by var­i­ous meth­ods. All these at­tempts were ig­nored.

More dis­ap­point­ing than his lack of can­dour were his dis­parag­ing re­marks about the press in gen­eral and the Ad­ver­tiser in par­tic­u­lar.

Dis­ap­point­ing be­cause for many years, decades in fact, and long be­fore his in­volve­ment with the club, the Ad­ver­tiser has dili­gently cov­ered and faith­fully cham­pi­oned Air­drieo­ni­ans FC and its af­fil­i­ated or­gan­i­sa­tions. So that he chose to den­i­grate the pa­per over a news­wor­thy – and, more im­por­tantly – ac­cu­rate story is un­for­tu­nate.

More un­for­tu­nate, per­haps even mis­guided, was his as­ser­tion that the club’s fans, of whom around 200 of the most de­voted were present, are too de­mand­ing on the team and who­ever is sit­ting in the man­age­rial hot seat.

Be­ing told you’re part of the prob­lem while si­mul­ta­ne­ously be­ing asked to pro­vide the solution is not only ris­i­ble – it’s enough to have any ded­i­cated Di­a­mond reach­ing for the swear jar.

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