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Tuesday, August 31, 1999 Published at 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK

UK: Scotland

Accies field by-election candidate

Hamilton Academicals are groundless

Fans of a troubled Scottish football team are to field a candidate in the forthcoming Hamilton South by-election.

The Hamilton Academicals supporters group say they want to draw attention to the plight of the Division One club, which is without a permanent base.

A public meeting takes place on Tuesday evening to choose the candidate who will fight the 23 September by-election.

It was called after George Robertson was appointed Nato secretary general.

Stephen Irons: "We want to highlight the club's plight"
One of the organisers, Stephen Irons, said: "Hamilton Accies have been out of the town now for the last six years.

"And it is our belief that the board of directors is neither willing nor able to secure a home back in Hamilton.

"By fielding a candidate in the Hamilton South by-election we will be able to draw some attention to our cause.

"We understand there have been difficulties in the last few years but we believe there is no real willingness to bring the club back to Hamilton."

Fans blame the board for the club's difficulties and are calling for a boycott of the game against Stranraer.

High-profile platform

By finding a candidate, the group believes it will gain a high-profile platform to get its message across.

Mr Irons added: "We will get attention from the media at a local and national level and we will be able to leaflet everyone in the constituency.

"I would urge anyone who wants to see the team back in Hamilton to come along to the meeting."

This latest move by supporters is part of a long term campaign for the removal of club boss Jim Watson, who took over in 1997.

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