New era dawns for ambitious Magpies

Chorley chairman Ken Wright is hoping his and fellow board member Graham Watkinson's acquisition of the club will herald an exciting new era at Victory Park.

Thursday, 18th May 2017, 9:34 am
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:40 pm
Ken Wright

The Magpies released a statement this week confirming that ownership of the club’s shareholding had been transferred to the pair.

Wright – who enjoyed two spells as manager of the Magpies before becoming chairman in the early part of this century – revealed that the announcement signalled the end of Preston North End owner Trevor Hemmings’ 
interest in the club.

He rescued the Magpies from extinction in the early 1990s and has continued to support the club since, 
although that backing has lessened in recent years.

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Graham Watkinson

Alongside the news of Wright and Watkinson’s takeover, the club also revealed that Chorley Borough Council had taken ownership of the club’s ground – Victory Park.

While Wright has presided over a hugely successful period on the pitch over the last few years, he admitted there is much to do off the field of play.

One of the first tasks for Wright and Watkinson will be to negotiate with the new landlords over the best way forward to secure the long-term future of the club.

Although the announcement of a General Election has stalled discussions between the two parties, Wright 
revealed he is eager to negotiate a new long-term lease on the ground.

Graham Watkinson

That will enable the club to secure grants and funding which could pave the way for a possible redevelopment of the charming, but dated, 
Victory Park.

Wright said: “It is a new era for the club.

“Trevor Hemmings is not involved any more and he hasn’t been from a personal point of view for a long time.

“Obviously when he came in and rescued the club in the early 1990s, it was in dire straits.

“We would like to thank him for making sure that the club could carry on effectively at that time.

“I went back to the club as manager in 1999 and it was 2002 when I became a director. I think it was 2003 when – God rest his soul – Jack Kirkland died and I became chairman.

“I have seen the bad times and the good times at the 
football club, but this is a 
massive opportunity to move the club forward.”

See Saturday’s Lancashire Post for an in depth interview with Ken Wright