Carrick Rangers announce 'pioneering strategic alliance' as they look to make club 'a globally recognized brand'
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Earlier this year, American businessman Michael Smith was confirmed as the new majority shareholder at the Loughview Leisure Arena outfit, becoming the latest investor into Irish League football, following in the footsteps of the likes of Kenny Bruce at Larne and Glentoran’s Ali Pour.
Fan Owned Club say on their website that they aim to ‘give each and every Fan Owner the chance to see and participate in the inner workings of a soccer club, by bringing the community membership model which, in some forms, is more common in Europe, and taking it over to the United States with a twist’.
They are set to provide marketing, merchandising and commercial services on an international scale for Carrick.
It’s a deal that will look to build on progress which has taken place on the pitch with Stuart King leading them to their best-ever Premiership campaign in 2022/23 when they collected 40 points and currently sit eighth this season.
Smith, who is Chief Information Officer at The Estée Lauder Companies, believes the Irish League “might be the most under-valued product in all of sport”.
"The Irish League might be the most under-valued product in all of sport,” he said. “It is an exciting brand of football with a high standard of play in an ultra-competitive league.
"We are excited for Carrick Rangers to be the pioneers in bringing this to an American market that is hungry for more sports-centred content."
Chairman Peter Clarke is confident the partnership with Fan Owned Club will open up a number of opportunities for the club while introducing Irish League football to an American audience.
"This alliance with Fan Owned Club is a game-changer for us,” he said. “We are excited to introduce the vibrant and competitive Irish League to the American audience, and we believe that this partnership will open up new horizons for both organisations."
Steve Paris, founder of Fan Owned Club, added: "We are honoured to join forces with Carrick Rangers and are committed to leveraging our expertise to promote it in the US.
"This partnership marks a significant step in the globalisation of Irish League football and sets the stage for a thrilling journey ahead.”