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Wednesday, 19 January, 2000, 18:24 GMT
Clubs play down merger speculation

Fir Park stand Motherwell say a take-over is not on the cards


Motherwell and Airdrie football clubs have distanced themselves from speculation that a merger might be on the cards.

Newspaper reports quoted Motherwell chairman John Boyle as saying he would be interested in broadening his club's appeal throughout Lanarkshire.

But Motherwell chief executive, Pat Nevin, later said the comments had been blown out of proportion.

'Consensus and agreement'

Mr Boyle had told newspapers that he would be interested in discussing a possible merger of the clubs.

He said: "It should be stressed that this could never be achieved through an aggressive approach and could only be done through consensus and agreement.

"But I would urge everyone involved to look to the future and recognise the benefits of stronger groupings."

Airdrie director Joe Rowan, though, was angered by the comments and said he would fight tooth and nail to ensure Airdrie continued as a club in its own right, despite existing financial difficulties.

He refuted reports that the speculation had in fact come from his club in an attempt to attract investment from elsewhere.

Divison One side Airdrie have debts estimated at 1.2m and their constitution works against investment with any one person limited to just 100 shares.

No deal

There are nine major shareholders at Airdrie but they will not be forced to merge with the Scottish Premier league club.

Mr Rowan insisted no deal would be done without consultation with shareholders and supporters.

"I have never suggested that this club merge with any other club. How could I?" he asked.

"Something of this magnitude would have to be dealt with by the supporters and also with the club's shareholders.

"I am only here doing whatever I can to make sure Airdrie remain in business."

An extraordinary general meeting will take place at the club in the near future to establish a process by which investment could be received

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See also:
19 Jan 00 |  Scottish Premier
Motherwell chief poised for Airdrie swoop

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