Buster Chapman takes over Linnets

King's Lynn speedway chief Buster Chapman has been awarded a 25-year lease on the council-owned Walks stadium and will launch a new football club in the town.

King's Lynn speedway chief Buster Chapman has been awarded a 25-year lease on the council-owned Walks stadium and will launch a new football club in the town.

As exclusively revealed in the EDP on Thursday, West Norfolk councillor Elizabeth Nockolds confirmed at a press conference Chapman's bid had been selected over the supporter-led Blue and Gold Trust proposal.

Chapman will become managing director/chairman and majority shareholder of the new club trading as 'Lynn FC Limited' under the proposed football name 'Lynn FC'.

Lynn must now formally apply to join the Ridgeons League for 2010/11 and be accepted by the FA before the council finalise the long term lease.

“It's been a difficult decision as we had strong proposals from both the Blue and Gold Supporters' club and Keith Chapman's Lynn FC,” said Nockolds, cabinet member for sports, arts and open spaces. “We selected Lynn FC because we believe their submission encompassed all the elements we were looking for. We were particularly impressed with their strong business focus and their knowledge and experience of running a successful stadium-based sports business. We were also impressed with their commitment to grass roots football and their wish to develop and strengthen the Football in the Community Scheme.

“They have put together a strong line-up of individuals to take the club forward which gives us confidence for the future of football at the stadium.”

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Chapman is looking forward to launching another major sporting project in west Norfolk after transforming King's Lynn's speedway club.

“I feel privileged,” he said. “The council can see that above everything else, my team and I are focused on giving King's Lynn a football team that will not only be successful on the pitch but will also give the fans and the community something that they can be proud of. I would like to thank everyone that has supported me throughout the bid.”

Former Linnets' title-winning boss Kevin Boon will be vice chairman and director of football. Boon is expected to confirm the appointments of respected duo Keith Rudd and Darren Bloodworth as joint first team coaches.

Rudd is a legendary figure at The Walks having played and managed various teams over the past 30 years. Bloodworth landed Lynn's first league title in 50 years alongside Boon when they lifted the Southern League, Eastern Division title in 2004.

Chapman has allocated initial funds of �100,000 to start up the new company, although the Chapman's bid document makes it clear generating revenue from match day income and making full use all year round of the stadium facilities - including a revamp to the Blue and Gold function room - will both be potential long term revenue streams.

A new official web site, Lynnfc.com, has been launched which is intended to be an 'all in one information point' for home and away supporters.

The Chapman group have pledged to work with the Blue and Gold Trust and are willing to promote them on the official web site and in the match day program. However, they have ruled OUT offering the Trust a seat on the board but will communicate with fans through a monthly fans' forum which will be attended by the majority of the board.

Chapman's wife, Cheryl (finance director), and son, Jonathan (operations manager), will also take key roles in the new set up. Former Lynn director Paul Garner, commercial manager John Fincham, press officer Mark Hearle and club secretary Martin Davis have also agreed to return under the Chapman banner.

Existing Football in the Community coach Jess Ibrom, along with Bloodworth and former community coach Paul Hunt, will oversee the club's reserve, youth and U16s which in turn will now re-establish strong links to the grassroots age group community football coaching.

Watch an exclusive video interview with Buster Chapman giving his first reaction to winning the lease only on edp24.co.uk at 5pm today.