A series of key meetings are taking place this week which could help define Larne Football Club’s future.
Kenny Bruce, co-founder of the highly successful estate agents Purplebricks, outlined plans to invest in both Inver Park and the team at an engagement session with supporters on Monday evening.
Fans packed the Curran Court Hotel room to hear Mr Bruce, chairman Gareth Clements and manager Tiernan Lynch reveal a dynamic blueprint for the Championship club.
One stalwart supporter told the TIMES: “It is a very exciting vision and it was very well received. He is planning investing in both the stadium and the squad.”
Afterwards fans took to social media to continue the discussion with one posting: “The plans in place are a joy to look at. Fingers crossed the council play ball but they would be mad not to.”
This reference to the local government authority was timely as Mr Bruce, formerly a resident of Larne but now living in England, was due to meet representatives of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, owners of Inver Park, on Tuesday.
The flurry of activity follows last month’s EGM of Larne FC at which members voted overwhelmingly to accept a proposal put forward by Mr Bruce that would see a substantial investment, with a new Limited Company formed to oversee the running of the club.
As part of accepting the proposal, the new board agreed to share a document that outlines the vision for the commercial and football side of the club within 90 days.
Mr Bruce also attended Saturday’s Championship game when the Inver Reds chalked their first win of the league campaign with a 2-1 victory over PSNI.
Tonight the town’s business community will be invited to buy into his vision for his hometown club.
Larne FC stated: “There’s a real buzz at our club and we want our local businesses to join us on our journey. Come along tonight to Curran Court Hotel at 7.30pm to hear what we will give to your business.”
The proposed investment, understood to be a six-figure sum, is a considerable turnaround in fortunes for the club which during the summer had to temporarily close Inver Park due to “safety concerns”.
Philip Thompson, Mid and East Antrim Council’s director of Operations, said: “Larne FC is one of Northern Ireland’s most established and recognised football clubs and has the potential to play a key role in the local community.
“Our ongoing discussions with Larne FC reflect an important part of the council’s Corporate Plan - to work in partnership with others to build a safer, stronger, healthier community and develop facilities and services which benefit all our ratepayers.
“We look forward to continuing to develop a working relationship with the club to maximise the sporting, recreational and economic benefits for the town and wider borough.”