ROY KENNEDY and the Honest Men supporters' trust will this week submit a new formal bid for control of Ayr United - hoping to persuade Donald Cameron and his family, who have owned 80-per cent of the club's shareholding since Bill Barr's retirement just over than a year ago, to dispose of a seriously inflated wage bill.

In the past fortnight continuing savage cutbacks has been blamed for the departures of chairman David Capperauld and manager Mark Shanks. A former employee of Barr Holdings, housebuilder Kennedy has formed a consortium with Capperauld and made a formal offer for control of the club. But with the Cameron family's initial rejection, the club's 300-strong supporters' trust then formed a 50/50 partnership between their already registered friendly society and the consortium under the holding company name of Ayr United 2010 (the club's centenary).

Their arrangement means they have a veto over the use of land surrounding Somerset Park. With the club's debt estimated at some pounds-1m, that would mean the trust taking on a pounds-500,000 commitment themselves. It is thought the club's prospective new owners are planning to finance rebuilding the team and a refurbished 6,000-seat stadium through low-cost accommodation on car parking land.

Although the sale of Stewart Kean to St Mirren - and imminent departures of young striker Andrew Ferguson to Dundee, and defender Marc Smyth - appear damning, the existing board remain privately unhappy at the portrayal of them being forced to sell on the cheap. "If we are in trouble at this club then every club in the UK is in trouble, " said managing director Hugh Cameron. "We have got good people here, and we have a plan to get back in profit." Aside from assuming debt, any acceptable new offer must also reimburse recent arrivals to the board in Lewis Grant and Alan Murray.

On the field, former Aberdeen and Dundee midfielder Robert Connor will continue to take the team until the uncertainty is resolved - with a reliance on veteran pros who live locally or are well disposed to the Ayrshire clubs, such as the 38-year-old Darren Henderson or Tommy Tair.

Even the Second Division club's only genuine footballing asset, goalkeeper Ludovic Roy, was pictured in a tabloid newspaper talking about the ignominy of having to polish his own boots.

Changed days indeed from 2002, when Ayr - effectively a Barr Holdings subsidiary - reached the CIS Cup final, losing 4-0 to Rangers as Alex McLeish collected his first trophy.

Staving off relegation from the Second Division is now more the norm, but the supporters' trust envisage a new stadium in time for the 2010 centenary, while re-establishing Ayr among Scotland's top 16 clubs and creating a community training academy. "Donald Cameron has been very well disposed towards the trust, " said spokesman Donald McNeill. "At the time he came in we thought fair enough, he has taken us over to act as the sugar daddy that we needed. But since then, things at the club have gone from bad to worse.

"There is no appetite for moving to an out-of-town stadium anymore, " McNeill added. "Although these guys are in the construction business - and we are crying out for new houses in Ayr, this way we keep the veto over using the whole of Somerset. We have seen sketches of plans for a redevelopment at Somerset Park, which have large parts of the car park built on.

The council have given permission for upmarket flats at Ayr racecourse, but also have provisions for social housing, and there is speculation that some of this is destined for Somerset Park."

Previously, Barr had been thwarted in an attempt to move the club to an out-of-town ground. Today, Ayr United remain firmly at a crossroads.