October 16, 2022
Crusaders FC: Consortium including Liverpool goalscoring legend Ian Rush looking to buy North Belfast club

Ian Rush's consortium could transform Crusaders if its proposal is accepted
Ian Rush’s consortium could transform Crusaders if its proposal is accepted

Liverpool goalscoring legend Ian Rush leads a consortium seeking to buy a majority stake in Irish Premiership club Crusaders.

Members of the North Belfast club were told about the proposal at an extraordinary general meeting (AGM) on Thursday evening.

If accepted, it is believed the overall investment in the Shore Road-based club could reach £2.5million.

The move would see Crusaders link up with 15 other Ian Rush Academies.

The Crues also hope the investment will help with the stadium’s potential redevelopment and provide links with agents in Asia, France and West Africa to bolster their first-team squad.

The club envisions that acceptance of the proposal would help to fully establish its full-time professional structure and place greater emphasis on youth and develop pillars of modern sports science.

Proposals include the formation of a players academy with a strong educational element, a player development strategy and improved revenue streams from football and non-football sources, including the sale of players from their academy .

IRAMA, of which former Wales international Rush is a major shareholder and involves several other businessmen, is reportedly looking to buy a 70% stake in Crusaders, which is valued at around £750,000.

This sum would then be reinvested by the members, with the consortium said to be ready to invest a further £1.75m in the club, making the project potentially worth a total of £2.5m.

Proposals “positively received”

Crusaders members are urged to consider the offer in the context of other clubs in the league adopting full-time models in recent times, the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic and a desire to challenge for trophies rather than trophies. accept a league mid-table position.

No votes were taken at Thursday’s meeting where a detailed presentation was made, but if accepted a number of the stated ambitions should be in place for the start of next season.

A statement from Crusaders after the meeting said the proposals were “positively received” and members “voted overwhelmingly to meet again to determine their course on March 24.”

Acceptance of the investment would transform Crusaders from an entirely fan-owned club into a shareholder model in which fans would retain a significant stake.

Ronnie Millar, Chairman of Crusaders FC, said: “Tonight’s meeting was held to discuss a detailed and significant investment proposal in Crusaders FC.

“Our members have received detailed information and will take the time to review it before returning to determine our views.

“Crusaders is owned and operated by its season ticket-holding members and the decision is theirs. That said, many members can see that the newfound wealth of the League forces others to think. The one thing that is certain is that standing still is not an option.”

Rush scored a club record 346 goals in 660 games over two spells for Liverpool. He also played for Chester City, Juventus and Leeds United.

He earned 73 caps for Wales, scoring 28 goals.

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