By David Richardson
After months of silence, Woking have announced that their takeover is in its “final stages” – so is this a landmark day for the club?
The Cards have reassured supporters that the takeover is still on track and also clarified the involvement of Blackbridge Sports, who they entered a partnership with last summer.
The NLP revealed on December 28 that Alexander Jarvis, the owner of Blackbridge, believed the club would announce the deal in Q1 of 2018.
Subsequently, The NLP were told by Woking that Jarvis “does not make any statements on behalf of the club”.
Today’s statement read: “We recognise the length of time since the announcement about investment at our Fans’ Forum last year and we thank you for your patience in waiting for further news.
“At the Forum we announced that Blackbridge had introduced us to an investor, and following yesterday’s Board meeting we can confirm that discussions to secure the long term future of our club by making us financially sustainable are now reaching their final stages with that investor.
“We as a club are now working exclusively with this investor and so the Blackbridge role is completed. We thank Alexander Jarvis and his team for their hard work and commitment to our club.
“The proposed transaction, fully supported by the Board, involves a number of parties and is complicated, time consuming and confidential and so we cannot give a timescale for its conclusion. We can assure you however, that we are doing everything we can to finalise it.
“Any agreement by the Board would include the transfer of Peter Jordan’s majority shareholding, to be ratified by a Shareholder’s general meeting, which would be closely followed by a Fans Forum.
“A further update will be issued in due course, and in the meantime no further comments will be made from the club.”
While the statement is good news for Woking supporters, it is likely their agonising wait will continue. This is a complex deal involving multiple parties, who own businesses and homes surrounding the Laithwaite Community Stadium.
The Woking Gymnastics Club, Woking Snooker Centre, David Lloyd Tennis Club are all involved along with local residents. Also key to the deal going through are discussions with Chris Ingram, of Kingfield Community Sports Centre Limited (KCS), who owns the ground.
The stadium holds great potential for development and it is believed that as many as 270 flats could be built around the ground which is an obvious attraction for property developers, but crucially The NLP can reveal that planning permission has not yet been submitted.
The deal was scheduled to go through in May 2017 when the transfer of shares from majority shareholder Peter Jordan to the new investor was set to take place at a club AGM. However, the meeting was postponed.
In July, Woking confirmed that they were still engaged in discussions with potential investors but a non-disclosure agreement meant they were unable to give any further information.
A club spokesperson told The NLP: “A small team continues to work very hard to bring this to a close.”