Linnets: Handley pulls out

Paddy DavittKing's Lynn's former finance director David Handley last night withdrew from the race to form a new football club in the town. The 35-year-old businessman pulled out citing fears he would fail West Norfolk council's financial criteria checks after one of his former companies was declared bankrupt in 2001.Paddy Davitt

King's Lynn's former finance director David Handley last night withdrew from the race to form a new football club in the town.

The 35-year-old businessman pulled out citing fears he would fail West Norfolk council's financial criteria checks after one of his former companies was declared bankrupt in 2001.

Handley also revealed he had been finalising a joint bid with the supporter-led Blue and Gold Trust to win the lease on the council-owned Walks stadium.

Leicester-based Handley insisted he is still keen to financially support a Trust bid, which is now in direct competition with King's Lynn Stars' speedway chief Buster Chapman.


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A council cabinet meeting scheduled for tomorrow will consider formal proposals from interested parties before a final decision is announced later this week.

'At the end of last week the council revealed there would be credit checks done on any new board members,' said Handley, in a statement released yesterday. 'Unfortunately, as my success has been achieved over the last five years, how much cash you have doesn't equate to a good credit check. I am not at all confident as in the 2000/2001 financial year I had a retail enterprise go bankrupt as the manufacturing of textiles moved abroad.

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'What I have achieved since then doesn't change the fact that is still on my credit file. After talks with the Trust since that revelation it has been decided I cannot be chairman at this time, much to my disappointment.'

Handley agreed to front a joint bid following recent positive talks with the supporter body.

'I had spent several weeks since the demise of the previous club's board with money in hand, a vision and a massive enthusiasm,' he said. 'The council revealed their terms for the lease and I started work straight away. I can confirm I had met with the Trust and we were working on a joint bid, with me as chairman and the Trust appointing the other board members. It was a 50:50 bid on the lease and the club - working together for the good of the fans and football at The Walks.'

Handley pledged to inject �1m into the newly reformed club and recruit ex-player/manager Carl Heggs to shape Lynn's football revival but last night reiterated he is not prepared to walk away.

'I meant what I said and will be supporting the Trust financially to try and achieve a successful bid for them and to assist with monetary matters,' he said. 'Let's see what happens this week. I will say the Trust members I met with are very professional and extremely capable of fulfilling your football clubs needs. Best of luck to them.'

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