Friends of Coleraine members to submit key vote at the end of the month over seven-figure investment sum

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Coleraine Football Club could be the next Irish League side to adopt a full-time model if a seven-figure investment bid is accepted.

The Bannsiders have been the subject of interest from two potential investors who wish to own the club.

One of the interested parties was from the United States, however, it is believed the preferred bidders are Ranald McGregor Smith and Patrick Mitchell who are both from the town and now live in London.

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The investment has been rumoured to be £2 million over the next five years, with Mr Smith believed to have made contact with his hometown club after initially being approached by Larne owner Kenny Bruce with regards to investing in the Inver Reds.

A decision over potential investment at Coleraine FC will be made later this monthA decision over potential investment at Coleraine FC will be made later this month
A decision over potential investment at Coleraine FC will be made later this month

The Bannsiders are owned by the Friends of Coleraine and any bid will have to be given the green light by members before the deal is completed.

Mr Smith's enthusiasm to get the transaction over the line was evident last Thursday (August 17) as he was present for the Friends of Coleraine's Extraordinary General Meeting.

The businessman spoke to members and answered any questions alongside chairman Colin McKendry and another club director.

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The general consensus around the club is that outside investment is needed to compete at the top table alongside Larne, Linfield and Glentoran who are currently full-time and all qualified for European football last season.

Coleraine have only won the Gibson Cup once in the club's history and with full-time teams occupying the top three spots in the Premiership table last season, supporters believe the only realistic chance they will get to challenge is by obtaining outside investment.

However, members are also wary of the future of the club should the investors stop ploughing cash into the bank at The Showgrounds as the Bannsiders nearly went out of business in 2005.

There are also concerns about the future of the Friends of Coleraine group moving forward, as well as players and staff who may or may not be able to transition to full-time status.

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The deciding vote will be made at the Friends of Coleraine AGM on Tuesday, August 29.

If successful, it is expected that the club will make imminent changes both on and off the pitch before fully completing a transition to full-time football for the 2024/25 season.