Larne FC 'on the verge of something fantastic' with massive investment
Larne FC board members voted overwhelmingly to accept an investment proposal from a multi-millionaire at Thursday night's EGM.
Kenny Bruce, the co-founder of property company Purple Bricks, will provide a substantial financial investment and will set up a Limited Company to oversee the running of the club. The Sunday Life last month revealed Bruce's plans to inject what was thought to be £500,000 into the club.
And on Tuesday night, those reports became reality while the Championship outfit also announced that Gareth Clements would take over as chairman, with Archie Smyth becoming secretary.
The new investor said the move has put the club 'on the verge of something fantastic.' Just what the plan is to launch Larne into its new future will become clearer within the next 90 days, as the new board will release a document outlining their vision.
"This is fantastic opportunity not only for Larne Football Club, but for the town of Larne itself," said former chairman and current secretary Archie Smyth. “There is no doubt that Kenny has fantastic plans for the club and the ability to deliver them. He has already demonstrated his commitment to the club."
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph about his plans last month, Bruce explained why he wanted to get involved: "I am very much in love with Larne, it's the place where I grew up. I played schoolboys football at Inver Park and grew up watching Larne as a fan.
"My grandparents and mother were born and bred there and I have strong connections with lots of family and friends in the town. I feel working with the football club would be a great opportunity to give something back."
New chairman Gareth Clements was focused on the club's immediate future and how they can turn round the season after picking up just two points from their opening five league matches.
He said: “We believe this is an exciting time for Larne Football Club. In the short term, our aim is increase levels of professionalism throughout the club, from the board room to the dressing room. We also want to get the product right on the pitch, start winning games of football and ultimately climbing the table."
“As well as this we are continuing to work very closely with Larne Youth, to establish a working agreement that will ultimately see them come under the umbrella of the football club. We feel this will afford the youth of the town the opportunity to progress from junior to senior football with their home town club, which is really important to us.”
The club are now aiming to host a fan engagement evening in October to detail the plans and a further evening designed to engage with the local business community.
What do the fans think?
Judging by comments on the popular irishleaguesupporters.com forum, Larne FC fans are overwhelmingly supportive of the move.
"This has the potential to be absolutely huge if we can keep everyone and everything moving in the right direction. Let's hope we look back on last night in a few years time as a real watershed moment for the club," said Ian.
"Brilliant news any doubts I had were dispelled in last nights meeting," reflected Doyt. "Very impressed by Gareth Clements and the plans for the future. In Gareth and the rest of the board members that were elected I have absolutely no doubt it will be for the good of the town."
Belfast Telegraph Digital