Handley's blast for West Norfolk council
Paddy DavittKing's Lynn's former finance director David Handley said he felt let down by West Norfolk council after withdrawing his �1m bid to form a new football club.Paddy Davitt
King's Lynn's former finance director David Handley said he felt let down by West Norfolk council after withdrawing his �1m bid to form a new football club.
Council chief executive Ray Harding confirmed two groups - believed to be the supporter-led Blue and Gold Trust and King's Lynn speedway boss Buster Chapman - have submitted final proposals.
Handley abandoned plans for a joint bid with the fans' body following the council's decision to credit check prospective directors of the proposed club ahead of awarding the lease on the Walks stadium.
The 35-year-old businessman insisted he was unaware credit checks formed part of the financial criteria after revealing at the weekend that one of his former companies had been declared bankrupt.
'If I had known that before Christmas then obviously you know where you stand,' he said. 'To be contacted towards the end of last week and told that is, in my opinion, out of order. I received an email from Ray Harding saying they wished to implement a credit check on any proposed new directors. I contacted his secretary to discuss the matter and was told to put my query down in an email. I waited until the weekend and hadn't heard anything back from them so I had to contact the Trust and explain the situation.
'They felt this would preclude me instantly from being involved in a joint bid. I am not a bankrupt. I haven't been declared bankrupt. If I wanted to buy a house or a car or whatever I have the money to do that - and I can prove it.'
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Harding reiterated credit checks were an essential element of the council's financial assessment of potential bidders ahead of this week's decision.
'We are disappointed that Mr Handley has chosen not to submit his proposal, but that is clearly a matter for him,' said Harding. 'It was made clear from the outset that a financial assessment would be undertaken on key proposed office holders from each consortium - a credit check forms part of that process.
'In light of the demise of King's Lynn Football Club (1994) Limited, council tax payers and supporters would expect us to carry out a full due diligence exercise on each of the consortia and their key members. We are pleased to confirm that we have received two detailed proposals which we will now be assessing.'
Handley revealed he even considered asking former player/boss Carl Heggs to front his campaign.
'He is as devastated as me,' said Handley. 'We had a masterplan and asking Carl to head this up was my immediate thought when I realised it wouldn't be possible for me to become chairman. The reality is we have just run out of time. The deadline was Monday lunchtime and there was no way we could put something like this together.'
Handley confirmed he would consider offering financial support to the Trust should they be awarded the stadium lease.
'I've spent the last six weeks of my life working on this project and I'm so disappointed,' he said. 'I'll make no bones about it, I was prepared to inject �1m into helping King's Lynn rise through the non league game and get to the Coca Cola Leagues. The Trust has discussed maybe putting some funds into their account but that is something we have to work out together. I'll certainly make a donation as a goodwill gesture.
'I wanted to work with them and they approached me. They've got an unbelievable bid. It's a 35 page document and really comprehensive.'