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Monday, 1 July, 2002, 16:01 GMT 17:01 UK
Airdrie United given green light
Airdrie's old Excelsior Stadium
Airdrie Utd will play at the Excelsior Stadium
Airdrie United will become the Scottish Football League's newest club after a proposal to take over Clydebank was agreed in principle.

The SFL's management committee unanimously gave the go-ahead for Clydebank to undergo a change of name, strip and stadium at a meeting on Monday.

That paves the way for the consortium behind Airdrie United to conclude a takeover of the Second Division club, which has been in administration for some time.

Consortium leader Jim Ballantyne, who saw his bid for admission to the league rejected in favour of Gretna, will now meet Clydebank's adminstrators on Tuesday to try to conclude the takeover.


This is nothing more than the wilful destruction of an innocent football club
David Munro
United Clydebank Supporters
"This is a vital step on the road to bringing senior football back to Airdrie," said Ballantyne.

"There is a lot to be done in a very short space of time, but hard work has never seemed so appealing."

SFL secretary Peter Donald admitted he was sorry to see the name of Clydebank disappear.

"The name Clydebank will not continue in Scottish football and that is a matter of great regret as Clydebank had a great role to play for many years," said Donald.

Bankies' administrator Bryan Jackson admitted to BBC Sport Online last week that if the league approved the takeover, he would have no choice but to accept it, despite the demise of the Clydebank name.

Jackson said: "That is the only offer of cash on the table and as my job is to pay off the creditors, I would have to accept it."

But David Munro of the United Clydebank Supporters, who had a management agreement in place with Jackson for the season ahead, was distraught at the demise of his club.

Manager Sandy Stewart and chairman Jim Ballantyne
Sandy Stewart (left) will manage Airdrie Utd
He described the move as "nothing more than the wilful destruction of an innocent football club".

"If this takeover goes ahead, the treachery of Airdrie United will be remembered for many years to come but also, of wider concern to other supporters, a franchise system for Scottish football will have been validated," Munro said in a statement.

"This is not the way they should be going about things. The fans of Clydebank Football Club have done nothing wrong and do not deserve to be treated in this way."

Ballantyne expressed his sorrow for the Bankies' situation.

"I am truly sorry for the Clydebank fans who desperately wanted their team to continue, but in reality this was not going to happen.

"We understand they have been looking for a buyer for close to four years, without success. We are the only offer they have had.

"We already have a management structure in place with Sandy Stewart and Brian Rice, and once everything is signed and sealed with the Clydebank administrators they will be going flat out to have us ready for the start of the season."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
SFL secretary Peter Donald
"Clydebank had been in administration for two years with no sign of a buyer"
Airdrie United chairman Jim Ballantyne
"It's been tough but there's a bit of light at the end of the tunnel"

A tale of woe

AUDIOVIDEO
See also:

20 Jun 02 | Scotland
18 Jun 02 | Scotland
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