Club hits back in funding row

Coleraine 'Chairman Colin McKendry 'Mandatory Credit �INPHO/Stephen Hamilton
Coleraine 'Chairman Colin McKendry 'Mandatory Credit �INPHO/Stephen Hamilton

Coleraine Football Club have hit back at allegations of a financial dispute with the club’s youth academy.

A story in a Sunday newspaper claimed the club and the academy section were in disagreement “over where funding for youth development is supposed to go”.

Club officials however described the suggestions as “scurrilous and unfounded allegations”.

A statement released on Saturday evening said: “The Board of Coleraine Football Club have become aware of scurrilous and unfounded allegations about the finances of the football club.

“We can assure our supporters and wider community friends that the club is in the best financial position it has been for a long number of years.

“The investment both on and off the pitch has brought unprecedented success as everyone knows.

“The board are treating this as a very serious matter and are dealing with this accordingly.”

Bannsiders boss Oran Kearney reiterated the club’s strong financial when confirming that Jamie McGonigle would not be leaving the club.

Crusaders submitted a bid for the talented striker at the end of last week, but Kearney said discussions lasted “10 seconds” and McGonigle would be going nowhere.

“It was a very simple conversation that lasted all of about 10 seconds between me and Colin McKendry,” he said. “I think the reply was short and sweet as well and I hope that’s the end of it.

“We’ve worked for seven years to get into this position and the last thing we want to do is let players go and strengthen other sides.”

On the pitch Coleraine warmed up for this Saturday’s season opener at home to Warrenpoint Town with an 8-0 thrashing of Dergview.

Kearney used the game to blood several young players.

Full-back Ben Moore was handed a start, with Alexander Gawne and Jack Bradley also impressing coming from the bench.

“The three lads plus Andy Whiteside have done really well and I wanted to get them more involved with pre-season but they couldn’t do any more training due to the SuperCupNI and we wouldn’t stand on their toes because of that,” said Kearney.

“It gave us a chance to have a look at them and see how they’ve developed and I thought Alexander was great he came on and young Ben was assured at full-back.

“It’s great for us and gives us a bit more depth, which is important.

“It’s so important that we have players making the breakthrough and they are all local lads as well.

“Alex is from Portstewart and Ben is a Coleraine lad, so I think it’s vital that we keep that conveyor belt coming,” he added.