Fort deny ICT takeover as club signs nine Caley youngsters

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Fort William FC have denied that the club is being ‘taken over’ by Inverness Caledonian Thistle after the club announced the signings of nine development squad players from the SPFL Championship club on loan until the end of the season.

The Claggan Park club confirmed the deal yesterday (Thursday July 25) ahead of their Highland League season opener against Brora Rangers this Saturday.

The announcement has been met with a mixed reaction, with some Highland League fans accusing the Lochaber club of ‘selling out’, while many Fort fans offered welcoming words to the new signings.

Fort William chairman Peter Murphy said it was a ‘great pleasure’ to get the deal done and denied any notion of ‘a takeover’ from ICT.

He said: ‘It has been well documented the difficulties our club has endured both on and off the park over the last two and a half years. We were close to shutting the door last summer but the dedication of a few hardy souls kept the club alive and got a team on the park. There were a few highs and many lows and I salute the resilience of our young team throughout last season.

‘A few weeks ago we were approached by Caley Thistle to discuss the possibility of working together in some way to allow some of their talented young players to continue their development. Our policy has always been about nurturing young talent whilst at the same time improving our team so this was clearly attractive to us.’

‘After lengthy discussions an agreement was reached that will see the best of Caley Thistle’s young footballers showcase their talents in the Highland League whilst supporting Fort William’s existing players and help them improve and develop.’

‘We understand that some might be concerned that this is some sort of take over from Caley Thistle but this is far from the case. We at Fort William FC have driven this initiative forward and believe it will benefit ourselves, Caley Thistle and Highland football as a whole.’

The Inverness club said that the move was ‘a truly groundbreaking initiative’ and see it as a benefit for both clubs and Highland football in general.

‘We look forward to seeing the players develop in the Highland League with Fort William,’ a club spokesperson said.

The signings include:

Martin MacKinnon- Goalkeeper
Donald Morrison- Defender
Gabriel Hastings- Defender
Ryan Fyffe- Defender
Harry Nicolson- Defender
Jack Brown- Midfielder
Kieran Chalmers- Midfielder
Ross Gunn- Winger
Roddy Kennedy- Striker