Airdrie United have landed a lucrative new sponsorship deal with a local regeneration initiative. The five-year deal, worth an estimated £300,000, will see the born-again club officially sponsored by the Airdrie Regeneration Partnership (ARP) – a massive new development in the town of Airdrie and surrounding areas.The Partnership is under the control of the Gillespie Investment Group. The Gillespie family has a long history of supporting football in the town and this new sponsorship renews a strong link between the company and the football club.
ARP will be the official club sponsors and the logo will be displayed on their strips. The new Airdrie United shirts were delivered to the club’s Excelsior Stadium today (Friday) by helicopter and both club and sponsors are delighted at the new arrangement."We are very pleased to have secured such a positive sponsorship," says Airdrie United chairman Jim Ballantyne. "We look forward to working closely with them over the coming years.
“From the dark days of a few years ago, the current board have taken the club a long way – relying mainly of the loyalty of our supporters. “This level of corporate support gives us a tremendous boost. Hopefully it is the start of the next generation of investment into the club and we can start climbing the leagues and give Airdrie United the stature and position the town deserves.”
Gillespie Investment Group director Scott Gillespie is equally optimistic about the new sponsorship. “We are delighted to give this backing to Airdrie United as part of our involvement with the Airdrie Regeneration Programme. “Everyone in the town can see the effort and commitment that Jim and his fellow directors have given to the club.
Hopefully this investment can assist in their climb up the tables.” The admittance of Airdrie United to the Scottish League was an episode that attracted considerable controversy and acrimony.
In May 2002 Airdrieonians (formed 1878) went bankrupt with debts of £3 million despite having finished as runners up in Scottish Division One. The collapse of "The Diamonds", as they were known due to their distinctive kits , created a vacancy in the Scottish Football League (in the Scottish Third Division) and local Airdrie man and Airdrieonians fan Jim Ballantyne attempted, with the help of others, to gain entry with a club called "Airdrie United" who were essentially to be a re-incarnation of Airdrieonians.
Their application, however, was rejected as the then English UniBond League side Gretna were preferred by league members over the new Airdrie team. As a last resort, Ballantyne completed a buy-out of the ailing Division Two side Clydebank and, with SFL approval, the club was relocated to Airdrie, the strips were transformed to resemble that of Airdrieonians and the name was changed to Airdrie United.
Airdrie United have inherited Airdrieonians' distinctive playing colours; a white top with a red diamond. This is where Airdrieonians' nickname, 'The Diamonds', finds its roots and, along with the strip design, Airdrie United have adopted the moniker. The team has been sponsored by [email protected] and donned their logo on the shirt since their first season in existence. The current strip is manufactured by Diadora.