New owner unveiled for town’s football club as Buster ends six-years at The Walks.
In a dramatic turn of events King’s Lynn Town football club has a new owner as Keith ‘Buster’ Chapman ends his six year stint and has handed the reins over to North Norfolk businessman Stephen Cleeve.
Chapman, who also runs the town’s speedway club and recently took over as the chairman of the sport’s governing body, has called time at the Linnets helm.
“We’ve put a lot of hard work in over the last six years, I have to say it’s been an enjoyable six years, But the last year with the increased pressure of speedway and issues around life, I found the last year very difficult so I thought the best idea was to move over and let somebody else with the belief and the passion take the club further and that’s what I’ve done.
“Myself and Cheryl both believe that we have taken the club as far as we can with the help of all of our sponsors and associates, To this day I believe that the club needs to progress further and it deserves to go further, it’s got a fantastic fan base and great facilities and we’ve done our best to keep the club on an even keel and make the club secure. The guy that has taken over has been very persistent, he’s been trying for three years to get the club and wanted to take over and in the end I think it’s time to let him do it, he’s got the ambition and the passion.”
Cleeve 49, owns the George Hotel in Cley next the Sea, said: “King’s Lynn is a sleeping giant. It’s got plenty of potential, the club deserves to have 3 to 400 more people without too much difficulty and I think the club should be playing in the football league, it won’t be easy getting there but that’s the ambition.
“I’m prepared to put the money in but I want to make sure that the club brings in extra partnerships so that money can be made for players and wages.”
Cleeve was involved in an unsuccessful bid to buy Wrexham in 2011 and said he was a ‘passionate’ football fan. He also runs the soccer memorabilia website, Collect Soccer.
A meeting between the new chairman and first team manager Gary Setchell was due to take place last night.
The challenge is now to get more fans regularly through the turnstiles at the club which plays in the Southern League Premier Division.
Chapman, 57, said the decision had been difficult, but he felt a weight had been lifted from him as a result and felt it had been the right decision to sell to Cleeve.
He has seen the Linnets promoted twice since he arrived to take on a re-formed outfit in January 2010.