US-BASED investors Phil and Carrie Rawlins have vowed to provide the ‘financial impetus and expertise’ to guide Falkirk back to the Premiership after agreeing to purchase a 26 per cent shareholding in the club.
The Rawlins, who own and operate the football consulting company Sleeping Giant Consulting, intend to inject a six-figure sum into the League One outfit and will take a place on the Bairns board when the verbal agreement is officially ratified.
Phil Rawlins hails from Stoke-on-Trent and was formally a director of the Potters during their rise to the English Premier League. He is the founder and life president of MLS club Orlando City.
Carrie was previously a consultant with Deloitte & Touche and, although retired in Colorado, they have been seeking investment opportunities in European football for some time.
Making their first public statement, the Rawlins said: “For several months we have been looking at clubs across Europe, and particularly in Scotland, who share our ambitions and are aligned with our views on how to advance a community-centric football club.
“Considering Falkirk’s size, history and fanbase we recognise the club has been underperforming in recent years and we believe we can offer the financial impetus, network and expertise to help take Falkirk back to the Premiership.”
Falkirk chairman Gary Deans has hailed the news as ‘exciting’ while emphasising that ‘the club is not for sale and the Rawlins do not have any plans to be majority owners of the club’.
Indeed, plans are in the offing to create an Official Falkirk Supporters Association, which would allow supporters to become members and, in the fulness of time, gain representation on the club’s board.
It is hoped that model, which remains at the planning stage, and an upcoming share issue will raise pivotal funds for the Bairns, who recently named former Rangers and Hibs forward Alan Gow as their new head of football operations.
The Major Shareholders’ Group (MSG) currently hold the largest stake in the club – more than 60 per cent – however that is set to be significantly diluted in the coming weeks due to the impending changes.
The Rawlins continued: “Since our first interactions with the board we have been extremely impressed with their leadership and vision for the future of the club.
“We see a solid plan for transformative change in place at Falkirk and a very loyal, passionate, and dedicated fanbase. Falkirk has excellent infrastructure and huge potential.
“While it has been challenging to do all our due diligence against the ongoing backdrop of a pandemic, we feel both confident and comfortable that Falkirk is the right choice at the right time.
“We are eager to see the formalities completed and get to work alongside the other directors at the club. We believe Falkirk has a very bright future ahead of it.”
The investment in Falkirk comes mere days after their fierce rivals, Dunfermline, announced similar news, with Hamburg-based DAFC Fussball GmbH taking on 30 per cent amid promises to develop the youth academy and new training facilities.
Deans added: “As a board, we have spent significant time getting to know them and ensuring that our respective ambitions for the club are completely aligned.”