Belfast Telegraph

Coleraine want Harry Gregg Foundation relationship to continue after positive talks, says chairman

By Steven Beacom

Coleraine chairman Colin McKendry has called on everyone associated with the Bannsiders to work together in the future for the good of the club.

McKendry's comments come after an eagerly awaited club AGM on Wednesday addressed a number of financial issues that have become the talk of Coleraine in recent weeks.

Last month the Sunday Life revealed a dispute between Coleraine FC and the Harry Gregg Foundation, effectively the youth Academy at the Showgrounds, over funding for youth development at the club.

Also in July, Derek Simpson, chairman of the Friends of Coleraine, who own the club, voiced his fears over the financial future of Coleraine with McKendry declaring that the Bannsiders had never been run better and were in a strong financial position.

Before the AGM, Coleraine FC met with the Harry Gregg Foundation. McKendry said: "It was a good meeting. We agreed that the Foundation had some issues, we explained where legal liabilities lay and where they sat within the overall organisation of the club.

"We are reviewing our position with the Foundation, but it must be beneficial to both parties. We would love the Academy footballing side of the Foundation relationship to continue.

"One thing we don't want is to deprive young kids in the Coleraine area from playing for our club."

In the Sunday Life, Andy Alcorn, chairman of the Harry Gregg Foundation, had claimed that funding from the club via Uefa solidarity fund applications and player reimbursement payments should have been placed into a bank account for youth development, adding that had not been the case.

He suggested Uefa could check if Coleraine had followed guidelines.

McKendry insisted that the club had done nothing wrong in relation to youth developments and following the AGM stated: "Coleraine have not broken any rules under any guidelines laid down by Uefa. Documentation would stand up to any inspection."

On the AGM, McKendry said: "We gave everyone a detailed account of where we are financially and how we are moving forward in terms of capital expenditure programmes and we were well received."

McKendry, who says new sponsorship deals will bring in £100,000, admitted that concern was expressed at the AGM about the split between various factions, adding: "The most important thing is the Coleraine Football Club Ltd brand, not any individual or any individual arm of the club.

"In future we should conduct our business in house if there are any disagreements. We need to move forward together, trust each other and work as one for the good of the football club."

Coleraine boss Oran Kearney, who inspired the team to Irish Cup success last season, outlined his future hopes at the AGM and why developing young players is so important.

Derek Simpson did not wish to speak publicly about the AGM, while Andy Alcorn was unavailable for comment.

Belfast Telegraph

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