Belfast Telegraph

Larne FC set for £500k cash injection as investor ready to splash cash

By Paul Ferguson

Larne FC are set for a major cash injection by a millionaire investor.

Sunday Life can exclusively reveal that Los Angeles-based Kenny Bruce, a multi-millionaire businessman originally from the Co. Antrim town, who has made his fortune in the online property market with the company Purple Bricks - is poised to invest £500,000 into the Championship club.

The move comes after Sunday Life reported that Larne were linking up with marketing company Red Strike and the University of Ulster in a project that would introduce full-time training for the first team squad at Inver Park, as well as establishing an academy with Larne High.

Bruce, heavily involved in negotiations with the club's board and also manager Tiernan Lynch in recent days, has been impressed with the plans and is ready to pump in the money to give something back to his home town.

Larne chairman Archie Smith commented: "We had some very positive discussions and the bottom line is that Kenny wants to see his local club and town flourish."

It is understood that part of any financial deal with Bruce includes the proposed purchase and renovations of the Inver Park as well as investing in players.

Chairman Smyth adds: "Everyone at the club works on a voluntary basis and I think Kenny recognised the passion and commitment of everyone he has spoken to. We already have exciting times ahead with our plans to train full-time and the academy set-up in place.

"There have also been some really positive discussions between ourselves and Larne Youth over the past week as we look to create a pathway for players to move right through from youth football, to under-18s and the first team.

"There are more discussions to be had, but we would love Kenny to become involved in helping us to move everything forward. Ultimately everyone's ambition is to get Larne back into the Premiership."

In recent days there had been speculation that former Larne players Graham McConnell and Sammy Smith would be part of a takeover bid with Bruce to oust the Inver Park board.

But Sunday Life understands that, following talks with chairman Smith and manager Lynch, Bruce is content to work with the current regime.

There is resentment, though, from many supporters who feel they have been kept in the dark about matters at the club around the academy-style plans.

They are upset that the Inver Park ground was not ready for their opening Championship game against Portadown yesterday due to a lack of safety certificate.

A public meeting has been called by disgruntled Larne fans for this Wednesday at the Curran Court Hotel in the harbour town to "discuss the way forward at Larne FC", but Sunday Life's revelations may change the agenda.

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