VIDEO: Handley: I'll invest �1m in new club
Paddy Davitt Ex-King's Lynn finance director David Handley last night promised to pump �1m into launching a new club. Handley made his pledge following lengthy talks with West Norfolk council leader Nick Daubney and chief executive Ray Harding where he unveiled his vision for the town's football future.
Ex-King's Lynn finance director David Handley last night promised to pump �1m into launching a new club.
Handley made his pledge following lengthy talks with West Norfolk council leader Nick Daubney and chief executive Ray Harding where he unveiled his vision for the town's football future.
The Leicester-based businessman also revealed he wants council and fan representation on his proposed board of directors, with former Linnets' boss Carl Heggs given the funds to plot an immediate promotion assault next season.
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Handley is one of four potential groups bidding for the lease at the council-owned Walks stadium alongside speedway chief Buster Chapman, a local business group and the supporter-led Blue and Gold Trust.
"I have �1m to put into King's Lynn football club over a period of time to try and get it the success it deserves," said Handley, in an exclusive EDP interview. "I've told the council I am willing to give them any guarantees they need and we're just currently going through all the criteria they need to know.
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"I felt it was a very positive meeting where we talked for well over an hour and they've told me they will make a final decision on January 13.
"If it doesn't happen in the first or second season it's still sustainable by myself. I wouldn't walk away if things didn't go right. I'm here for the long term.
"I can understand why people might be wary but I can promise you I wouldn't make the same mistakes as the previous board. Trust has to be earned and you have to be given the chance to earn that. All I can do is show the council what assets I have got and what my plans are and if they make me their choice then I can prove it to the fans as we go along."
Handley is also willing to meet the costs of upgrading The Walks stadium.
"I don't necessarily need funding from the council but any they can provide would be welcome," he said. "I know all the areas that need doing and I am willing to contribute to all those areas. I'm not going to run King's Lynn as a business because I don't see this as a money making opportunity. I'm a massive football fan myself and I have got the King's Lynn bug.
"I'm prepared to build the foundations it needs to give a town this size the football team it deserves. Ultimately, I want us to be in a professional league.
"If we're lucky enough and I've hit the ceiling of how far I can take us then I would look to hand over to someone who can take the club on - but I'm willing to try for 15 years and I have the financial commitment and funds to make it available."
Handley also reiterated he wants supporters to play a key role in any re-formed club.
"I asked the Trust to come to my meeting so they could see I have no ulterior motives," he said. "They declined to come along because they don't want to be seen to be backing one particular bidder - which I can understand - but if I am successful I want them on the board.
"I've also invited the council to have a member on the board which they will think about, although it's not really part of their professional set up. I have nothing to hide. No secrets. I want it to be open and honest."
n Watch David Handley's exclusive video interview only on edp24.co.uk/sport