Council in talks with a quartet of parties

West Norfolk council chief executive Ray Harding confirmed last night they had been approached by four groups interested in re-launching a football club in King's Lynn.

West Norfolk council chief executive Ray Harding confirmed last night they had been approached by four groups interested in re-launching a football club in King's Lynn.

The council will have the final say on who takes over the stadium lease at the council-owned Walks facility and Harding revealed they had already held exploratory talks with:

t The Blue and Gold Supporters' Trust

t King's Lynn's former finance director David Handley


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t King's Lynn Stars speedway chief Buster Chapman

t A group of local businessmen

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Harding said whoever takes on the new club must be committed to involving both the community and supporters.

“I think what we are looking for is people being able to demonstrate that they have thought it through properly,” he said. “We need to make sure they do not extend too fast or over reach themselves.”

The Blue and Gold Trust have already met council officials while other interested parties are due for talks early next week.

“What we are doing is listening to what they have to say,” Harding said. “Then we need to work out what we are looking for. It has got to be sustainable and have some sort of way they are going to involve the community in the club and the supporters. There may well be other groups that come out of the woodwork in the next few weeks. There has been a lot of interest.”

Under council rules, Harding must draft a report for councillors outlining proposals for the criteria for the new leaseholders of The Walks which would have to be approved by West Norfolk Cabinet early next year.

Harding said: “We need to do it quickly as we do not want to have a whole season without football.”

Harding explained that the tendering of a lease on a council asset would usually be given to the highest bidder.

But he said: “The biggest amount of money for the lease may not be the best solution in terms of the determining which group should run the next football club. We need to work something out that enables us to make a rational choice so people can see the best solution. We have been talking to the FA about their demands. They have confirmed that a re-formed club would need to go down two steps into the Ridgeons League Premier Division.

“A new club would need to enrol at a fairly early stage next year. The FA is saying they have got to be quick. It would have to have a completely new name - it couldn't be called King's Lynn Football Club. It would have to be differentiated from the previous club.”

Harding hinted the council would announce its final decision in front of all the interested parties.

“The process will probably be that we will have a meeting with everybody together and tell them all the same thing,” he said.

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