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Stirling Albion aim to fight off eviction threat

Stirling Albion's Forthbank Stadium
Stirling Albion run the risk of being evicted from Forthbank Stadium

By Phil Goodlad

Stirling Albion say that they will pay the rent owed on their stadium and stave off the threat of eviction.

Stirling Council have gone to court for the second time to recoup around £100,000 in unpaid debt from the Scottish Second Division club.

However, Stirling Albion director John Smith told BBC Scotland that he was confident the money could be raised in time to satisfy the council.

"I don't think this is the death knell for Stirling Albion," he said.

"I don't see any other possibility," was Smith's response when asked if the club would continue playing at Forthbank.

On the subject of how the club would come up with the money owed to the council, Smith would not supply any details, saying simply that "contingency plans would be in place".

Albion are believed to be £1.5m in debt and have survived two winding-up orders in recent months.

A plan to sell Albion's naming rights for £50,000 a year was last month rejected by the Scottish Football Association.

Stirling have been up for sale since June, when owner and chairman Peter McKenzie announced plans to step down.

The stadium is owned by the council and managed by the local authority's arms-length sports development company Active Stirling.

Stirling Council said it in a statement that it is "taking this matter seriously and is involved in various court proceedings involving Stirling Albion".

It said that it has a summary warrant for the recovery of rates for 2008/09 that was put on hold while there were active negotiations between parties.

"Following the lack of response from Stirling Albion, this warrant is being passed to Sheriff Officers for recovery," it said.

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The council will seek a further warrant at the end of the month for 2009/10 rates.

A separate action in Stirling Sheriff Court to recover rental/service charges, with a court date unlikely to fixed for some weeks.

"Stirling Council is still hopeful that Stirling Albion will enter into meaningful negotiations," said the council.

"But if there is no reasonable dialogue or acceptance of the council's offer then there is the chance that further legal measures to recover the sums owed will be required.

"If the council terminates the lease, the club would have to consider what options they may have. That is a decision for Stirling Albion.

"The council has an obligation to the taxpayers to recover all money due to them. The council wishes to emphasise they are not taking any steps to place Stirling Albion into administration."

A similar dispute between North Lanarkshire Council and Clyde Football Club brought the Cumbernauld club to the brink of administration last season.



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