SIGN UP for our newsletter ✉️ :

Get the latest stories delivered straight to you

Coleraine FC set for £2m takeover as fans group agrees to sell controlling share

Coleraine Football Club is set for a £2m investment over the next five years after the club's current fans ownership group agreed to sell its controlling share to two business men.

At its AGM on Tuesday, the Friends of Coleraine FC group joined the club's board in backing the proposal.

London-based Coleraine natives Randall McGregor Smith and Patrick Mitchell are the businessmen involved in the plan.

The proposals involve the club moving to a full-time model in due course.

Coleraine chairman Colin McKendry had described Tuesday's Friends of Coleraine vote as "possibly the biggest decision that would be made in the club's history".

"We're taking it out of fan ownership and putting it in the hands of external investors and with that comes risk," the Coleraine chairman told BBC Radio Ulster's Good Morning Ulster.

"Some fans were obviously concerned about it so we had a number of meetings over the last couple of months to allay any fears that we as a club have.

'Due diligence certainly done'

"We as a board have had those as well. [But] We have certainly done our due diligence and we have given all the information that we had to the Friends of Coleraine who voted in favour of it last night.

"It's now over the first hurdle and now we get down to the business side of things, sorting out the minutiae in relation to the legal contract."

McKendry added that the two men "who have been very successful in their own business lives now want to come back and give something back to the town".

"Obviously they are investors who somewhere along the lines will be looking on a return on some finances," added the Coleraine chairman.

"However at this stage, they are very clear about it - they want to have some fun along the way and "do good for the town" is what Randall is saying and giving something back to the town."

The initial headlines around the proposed investment said that the club's investors would target becoming Irish Premiership champions by 2027 but McKendry played this down in his Radio Ulster interview.

"It was probably said tongue in cheek a little. These things don't just happen overnight in football. It takes quite a while to build a football club - i.e a playing football club.

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney
McKendry says "conversations are ongoing" about the possibility of manager Oran Kearney becoming a full-time boss

"But off the pitch, it's very clear we want to build the community. We want to keep the community with us.

"We want to bring the ladies section together, the academy section and we're obviously looking at funding for community hubs and so forth so that we can bring everybody with us."

McKendry added that "conversations are ongoing" with manager Oran Kearney about the possibility of his role becoming full-time.

"Oran has his own professional career outside of football. We are having those conversations because we have to look at the bigger picture.

"Obviously we couldn't do anything because the share had to be purchased by the investors so there was no point in us going down that too far until we had this across the line, which we now have, and now the serious conversations are going to take place."

The Coleraine chairman said that the £2m investment will be "over and above what we already raise through our revenue streams at present".

Friends of Coleraine have been running the club since 2006 when they saved the club from bankruptcy.