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Thursday, 20 June, 2002, 18:37 GMT 19:37 UK
Airdrie target Bankies takeover
Clydebank's players in celebratory mood
Clydebank's supporters will fight the takeover
Buying Clydebank FC is one of three options being pursued by Airdrie United as they attempt to retain senior football in the Lanarkshire town.

The Bankies' administrators have told BBC Sport Online that they would consider a bid from the rival club.

But neighbours Albion Rovers and Hamilton Academical could also emerge as takeover targets should a bid for Clydebank fail.

Airdrie United were defeated by Unibond League club Gretna in this week's vote to replace Airdrieonians in the Scottish Football League.

We still have first option to buy
UCS spokesman David Munro
It seemed to signal the end of 124 years of senior football in Airdrie.

But prospective United chairman Jim Ballantyne says that he has not yet given up hope and is pursuing "three viable options".

One of those is buying Second Division Clydebank, a club without a home since 1996 but who have retained their position within the SFL despite having teetered on the same financial brink as Airdrie for several years.

Fans group United Clydebank Supporters are poised to conclude a management agreement with administrator Bryan Jackson to run the club for the coming season.

UCS hope to run the club while raising the funds necessary to buy Clydebank from owner John Hall and have rejected a request for talks with Ballantyne.

But, while Jackson has not yet had an approach from Ballantyne, his company would prefer to have a buyer in place for the coming season.

"It is football, so I never rule out anything," he told BBC Sport Online. "I have an open mind."

UCS spokesman David Munro revealed that he had been approached by Airdrie fans' leader Les Jones, who had suggested either a merger to create Clydebank and Airdrie United playing out of the Excelsior Stadium, or a takeover, with Clydebank playing in Airdrie until the name could be changed.

"However they dress it up, it is a takeover attempt and we will not be talking to them," said Munro.

"John Hall and his representative have both confirmed that we still have first option to buy.

"Only if we cannot raise funds by the end of next season will they look for a new buyer, although I can't speak for the administrator."

Ballantyne has refused to say what his three options are, although he has ruled out a move to English football.

Gretna's place in the Unibond League has already been filled by Kendal Town.

Manager Sandy Stewart and chairman Jim Ballantyne
Airdrie Utd will battle back from vote blow
Sources suggest that Ballantyne could turn his attention to Hamilton should his Clydebank bid fail.

Former broadcaster Jock Brown is in place at Ballast Stadium as interim chief executive but has as yet been unable to complete his takeover of the club.

And the Second Division club's players are threatening to strike because of wages unpaid by the present owners. Airdrie United had already reached an agreement to groundshare with Albion Rovers had they won Tuesday's vote.

Rovers must be tempted to move from ramshackle Cliftonhill Stadium in Coatbridge to the now vacant Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie.

The near 500,000 that Ballantyne's group had promised to put into paying Airdrieonians' debts could now be used as an added incentive to instigate a merger or takeover.

But, with only 160,000 required to buy Clydebank, the homeless club are under greatest threat.

See also:

20 Jun 02 | Scotland
18 Jun 02 | Scotland
17 Jun 02 | Scotland
14 Jun 02 | Scotland
31 May 02 | Scotland
25 May 02 | Scotland
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