Rumours of a six-figure investment have mixed among Bairns fans for a number of weeks, and the matter was addressed in a video Q&A released by the club on Thursday evening. It denied an offer from the ‘Navy Blue Group’ was rejected and stated talks were ended by the consortium before a formal proposal had been made or a meeting with all 11 potential investors could be held.
The group of supporters, businessmen and sponsors had sought to invest £550,000 and “bring about immediate, radical and substantive change” to the Bairns after “two catastrophic seasons”. Their seven-point plan included proposals to appoint an independent chairman, add a fans rep and refresh the board with a consortium member of a football background while increasing supporters’ shareholding, seed shares to a new fans group and dilute others from the previous major shareholders group.
A statement added: “This was not a takeover, our desire as supporters, was to promote positive change to support player recruitment by improving communication, while bringing a wider range of skill sets and experience to the board.”
Falkirk FC director Gordon Colborn said the club was disappointed confidential talks had reached social media but explained “discussions made it clear they were a number of pre-conditions associated with their proposed investment in the club”. He added: “There was one which the board simply could not deliver and was outwith the board’s authority.
"We were in a place where this was not going to work, but to re-emphasise the board did not turn down an offer, the group removed themselves from the discussions and I would let them explain why.”
On Friday, the group’s statement said: “Towards the end of six-weeks dialogue it became clear that despite encouragement, the club was not interested in substantive change, did not share our vision and instead merely wished to add two members from the Navy Blue to an already top-heavy board.
“We regret an agreement could not be reached, however what became more apparent throughout the discussions was the reluctance of the board to:- put the club before personal ambition and status; countenance, or compromise on any vision different from their own; recognise the jeopardy such an approach places the club under going forward.
“This was not acceptable to the Navy Blue who, as a group would not accept any proposal that diluted our vision and saw a level of influence and control that did not match the level of investment being provided.
“In our opinion significant change is clearly required at board level before this objective can be achieved and we regret our offering was unable to bring about that change.”
In the two-hour Q&A Mr Colborn did stress the club was supportive of fan ownership and added: “I don't want to find ourselves in a situation where things are said and positions become so entrenched that we can never recover. That's not good for the club because we want to see investment in the club from fans and welcome it, but it has to be reasonable and come without a set of pre-conditions that the board simply can't deliver on.”