Albion Rovers – the only football team with two suffixes – could lose their iconic name if a consortium looking to take over succeed.
The group of investors has called on the club’s current owners to resign after their 120-year stay in the SPFL came to an end last week. Their relegation from the Scottish League Two means they’ll be playing in the Lowland League next season.
It comes 12 months after ‘Project Phoenix’ first tried to buy them last summer. They’ve now reignited their interest – and included in their plans is a rebrand to ‘Shamrock Rovers Coatbridge’.
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Explaining why they want to take the name of the most successful club in the Republic of Ireland, London-based potential investor Paul Reilly, who originally hailed from the town, told Lanarkshire Live Sport : “Coatbridge is very much, historically, a town of Irish culture and demographic.
“There is huge potential there. The reason Shamrock Rovers Coatbridge was picked is because there is still an element of ‘The Rovers’ there to acknowledge the club from the past.”
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Reilly met with Rovers chairman Ian Benton and their board 12 months ago on behalf of a mix of UK, Irish and US investors and warned them they were heading for relegation if they didn’t accept their offer, which has now materialised.
He fears they’ll continue to decline if they don’t change their minds now. “This idea was rejected last year when it could have saved the club,” Reilly said.
“The club would not have been relegated if this proposal was implemented last summer. We did an analysis of the club’s demise over the past decades and we did a model based on maths which we were very confident in – and it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to work this out – that showed the club was going to be relegated.
“This was presented to the board, but the name change was the problem. We are still going ahead and pushing for this – and we want the current board to resign. The board has to resign because they are killing the club, there is no doubt about it.”
The consortium has proposed a new 10,000 seater multi-purpose entertainment arena to be built within five years of the rebrand. It would also be the home of a local Gaelic team and have coaching facilities for the community and schools.
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