Falkirk: Mark Campbell aims for Premiership top six with '10-year project'

Manager Ray McKinnon has been busy reshaping the squad at relegated Falkirk
Manager Ray McKinnon has been busy reshaping the squad at relegated Falkirk

Prospective Falkirk owner Mark Campbell insists "I'm not Craig Whyte, I'm not Vladimir Romanov" saying he has a "10-year project" for top flight success.

Campbell, 46, aims to complete a takeover at the League One club by the end of August.

Romanov left Hearts in administration, while Whyte was bankrupted after a ruinous reign at Rangers.

"I've not just woken up one morning and thought, right, I'm going to own a football club," Campbell said.

"This is something I've been working on for a while. I've spoken to a number of clubs, one or two in Scotland.

"I'm not Craig Whyte, I'm not the Roman guy at Hearts. I will be the custodian of this great football club and I will respect it and deliver."

After finishing bottom of the Scottish Championship, Falkirk will be playing in the third tier for the first time since 1980 but have already invested heavily in players from higher levels this summer.

Asked why someone who has real estate company in New York and England and no background in football would be interested in the sport, Campbell said: "Eventually, a financial return would be nice, but this is not a short-term project. It is a 10-year project.

"The club needs to be promoted this season. Is there a business plan in place if we don't get promoted? Yes, but the aim has to be that we go up this season.

"It would be fantastic if we could go up back-to-back, but we are prepared to sit in the Championship for a season because it's a hard league to get out of."

Englishman Campbell is pledging to be hands-on at Falkirk Stadium.

"You can't run a football club and be an absent owner," he said. "You've got to be here, day-in day-out.

"Managing a business with this amount of people in? I've plenty of experience doing that. I've got a very good team around me."

Campbell had been looking to take control of both Falkirk and Sunderland with the idea of using their facilities to benefit both.

However, although negotiations broke down with the English League One club, he is ploughing on with the Falkirk project and plans to install former Celtic chief scout John Park as the club's football director.

"I think currently we've got 18 players," he said. "We need to get a few more. We can't at the moment because we don't have the keys to the club.

"By the time we actually get the club, we might have a few days to do something. If not, we'll have to attack the January transfer window."

Campbell says the reintroduction of a youth academy is "top of the list" and he may explore a return to the training facilities at Stirling University, while the ultimate goal is making an impact in the Premiership.

"The aim is to get to the top league," he said. "There is the opportunity to be a top-six side. There is no point it going into this thinking we are just going to survive in the Premiership."

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