The new owner of King’s Lynn Town Football Club has revealed his desire to steer the club into the Football League for the first time.
A deal which will see Norfolk businessman Stephen Cleeve take over the club from previous owner Buster Chapman was announced at the club’s Walks ground this morning.
Mr Cleeve, who contested the Kensington and Chelsea Parliamentary constituency for UKIP at the 2010 general election, tried to buy Conference club Wrexham in 2011.
But he revealed he had been pursing a deal to purchase the Linnets for the past three years.
He said: “King’s Lynn is a sleeping giant.
“It has lots of potential and should be playing league football. It’s not going to be easy to get there, but that’s the ambition.
“The Premier League has lost its soul recently and what I wanted to do is get more involved in grassroots football.
“I’ve been trying to convince Buster to sell me the club for the past three years and he has finally relented.”
British Speedway Promoters’ Association (BSPA) and Lynn speedway chief Buster Chapman was awarded a 25-year lease on the council-owned Walks stadium in 2010 after the original club had been wound up in December 2009.
Mr Chapman’s bid was selected over the supporter-led Blue and Gold Trust proposal.
On his departure from The Walks, Mr Chapman said: “I have put a lot of hard work and time put into the club over the past six years.
“It has been enjoyable and a challenge but I have found it difficult over the last year with all of my speedway and family commitments.
“I felt the best thing I could do is move over and let someone with passion and ambition take over.”
West Norfolk Council officials have indicated Mr Cleeve would have the ability to take up the remaining period of the lease if he has bought the original company from Mr Chapman.
However, the authority would have to agree to transfer the lease if a new company has taken over the club.
A spokesman added that there is no option in the lease agreement for the club to buy the ground and fresh talks would have to take place if such a deal was to be sought.
During Mr Chapman’s tenure, the club, under the guidance of manager Gary Setchell, have won two promotions are now playing in the Step Three Southern League Premier Division.
The club have also reached the semi-finals of the FA Vase, the last 16 of the FA Trophy and the Fourth Qualifying Round of the FA Cup (twice).
Ahead of this morning’s hastily-arranged press conference, Mr Cleeve’s Twitter feed said: “Am very excited to have become involved with a football club, can’t wait to be part of a team and help grow this sleeping giant.
“Press conference Weds so shall release details of the club then. Lots of potential and lots of hard work, can’t wait to get started.”