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Page last updated at 09:45 GMT, Friday, 2 July 2010 10:45 UK

Stirling Albion fans finalise takeover of club

By Phil Goodlad

Stirling captain Ross Forsyth celebrates the Second Division title
Stirling Albion won the Second Division title last season

First Division side Stirling Albion have become the first Scottish senior club to be owned by their fans.

The Stirling Albion Supporters Trust has agreed a £300,000 deal to clear debts and make a one-off payment to Peter McKenzie, chairman for 26 years.

McKenzie, 84, has agreed to write off the £1.2m loan that was due to him.

Since launching its campaign to buy the club last May, the trust has registered 2,000 worldwide members, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Andy Murray.

"I am thrilled that the true fans will look after the future of this great club," said McKenzie, who in May made a £41,000 payment to save the club from liquidation and HM Revenue and Customs received a further £48,000 in November.

"I had a few offers on the table but it was always my wish that the club remain within the local community."

This acquisition has the potential to be a landmark moment for the future of Scottish football

Albion fans' spokesman Paul Goodwin

It is two years since he announced that he wanted to step down as chairman and guarantor and make his majority shareholding in the club available for sale to any interested parties.

'Buy Stirling Albion' campaign spokesperson Paul Goodwin said: "We are absolutely delighted to have reached an agreement to acquire Mr McKenzie's majority shareholding in the club.

"Throughout the negotiations Mr McKenzie made the wellbeing of the club and its position in the community key factors in any agreement he made.

"This acquisition has the potential to be a landmark moment for the future of Scottish football as it marks the first senior Scottish football club to come under the direct control of its fans' supporters trust.

"Everyone knows that there are severe pressures on football at all levels just now and we are under no illusion, and no-one else connected with the club should be either, that there is a very challenging future ahead.

Peter McKenzie with former team manager Allan Moore
McKenzie and ex-team manager Allan Moore take the applause of the fans

"The Trust is absolutely committed to supporting the management and the team, developing the club's role and presence in the wider Stirling community and undertaking some innovative commercial activity in order to generate new income."

The club have been in court three times over unpaid council bills and faced two winding-up orders over unpaid tax.

Last year, the local council took action to recover £67,000 in unpaid rent and rates for use of Forthbank Stadium.

That figure has risen to £100,000 and legal proceedings were opened last month at Stirling Sheriff Court.

The fans group had discussed selling the naming rights for the club, with "Stirling Meerkats" one such suggestion.

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see also
Binos face renewed eviction calls
01 Jun 10 |  Stirling Albion
Scottish football's struggle for funds
04 Mar 10 |  Business
Team given extra time to pay debt
02 Oct 09 |  Tayside and Central
Binos pay 48,000 income tax bill
06 Nov 09 |  Stirling Albion
Murray signs up for Bino campaign
22 Jun 09 |  Tayside and Central
Fans attempt to buy football club
06 May 09 |  Tayside and Central

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