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Airdrieonians FC Academy is launched

1st October 2013

As part of our Corporate Plan, our aim is to work towards a full time Youth Academy to complete our Player Pathway so that we can offer a route into full-time football for our youngsters through the Airdrieonians brand. As it stands, not being able to do so means that we are always at risk of losing our best young players after spending many years developing them, however as from today, things are changing.

The Club is delighted to announce the launch of our latest move to strengthen our Youth Development Pathway by the foundation of the Airdrieonians FC Academy, sponsored by Rainbow Room International, the multi award winning Hair and Beauty Group based in Scotland owned by Alan and Linda Stewart. Full details of their press release is attached.

5 outstanding young players have been taken on full time at the Club on the Young Apprenticeship Scheme with two year contracts and they will be training within the Edusport Football Academy, owned by Airdrieonians Director, Chris Ewing. The players are Liam Coogans, Kyle Richford, Aiden Ward, Jack Haggerty and Chris O'Neil.

Jim Ballantyne said "To secure the support of Rainbow Room International is a testimony to our vision for the Club and it would not have been possible without their direct involvement. 

"Alan and Linda have built up a hugely successful business turning over in excess of £6m per annum and this is a direct result of their commitment to their own youth development.

"It was not until I sat down, at the start of the year, with Chris Ewing of Edusport that it really began to take shape and it then gave me the opportunity to put a proposal to Rainbow Room International.

"The Club plans to expand this new venture over the forthcoming years however, it has to be resourced properly and the ability to partner the launch with Edusport, and obtain sponsorship from Rainbow Room International has given the Club a great start."

Airdrieonians director Chris Ewing, owner of Edusport Academy said "We're delighted to welcome the boys into the Edusport Academy.

"The players will benefit from fantastic facilities and top UEFA Coaching on a daily basis, which will undoubtedly help their development. Being part of the Academy will also enable the players to develop a 'full time' professional mentality. 

"It is also an interesting opportunity to combine footballing cultures, with the majority of the players at the Edusport Academy being French. All at the Academy are very excited to work with the five players, who's progress of cours, will be monitored by Airdrieonians' coaching staff daily. 

"I would also like to thank Rainbow Room International for their support with the project"

Rainbow Rooms International Press Release
Scotland's leading salon group Rainbow Room International has recently collaborated with Airdrieonians FC Academy to ultimately strengthen their Youth Development Pathway. Rainbow Room International is world renowned in the hair and beauty business and whilst maintaining a luxury brand name they also pride themselves on committing a massive part of the business to training the next generation.

Currently Rainbow Room International operates from 12 prime locations throughout Scotland along with having their head office based in Glasgow. The multi-award winning salon group just recently picked up two awards at the British Hairdressing Business Awards. The brand itself has been built on a huge commitment to training having invested over £1M in a state of the art training academy in Glasgow's City centre. Continually embracing change and new ventures is why the opportunity to collaborate with Airdrieonians FC Academy was so appealing.

When Alan and Linda Stewart, Directors of Rainbow Room International, were approached about this recent partnership they stated; "This exciting new venture certainly was an easy decision for us. Each year we invest over £700,000 in training approximately 80 to 100 students a year. We have always believed that the real growth of our business comes from investing in your own youngsters." They continued, "Our catchment is very similar to the football club with our youngsters having creative talent and wishing to train academically as part of a vocation, rather than full time education, so it really is a great fit for all."

Jim Ballantyne, Chairman of Airdrieonians FC said, "To be able to secure the support of Rainbow Room International is a testimony to our vision for the Club, and if I am being honest, part of that vision is based on what I have learnt from Rainbow Room International having dealt with such a thriving business for over 25 years. Alan and Linda Stewart have built up a hugely successful business turning over in excess of £6M per annum and their continual investment in the youth of today is beyond inspirational."

Full details of these businesses can be found at and

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