New delays for Galpharm Stadium shares deal frustrates Huddersfield Town fans

A DEAL to sort out shares in the Galpharm Stadium has collapsed.

A DEAL to sort out shares in the Galpharm Stadium has collapsed.

Now urgent talks are to be scheduled to try to resurrect the deal.

There had been hopes that the deal involving Huddersfield Town, Huddersfield Giants and Kirklees Council would have been signed and sealed by Christmas.

But to the anger of Huddersfield Town fans, that has not happened.

There have been crucial behind the scenes talks trying to broker a new deal but those have not yet come to fruition.

The dispute has dragged on for more than five years and centres on the shareholdings in Kirklees Stadium Development Ltd, who run the Galpharm.

Town originally held a 40% stake in the company, Kirklees Council has another 40% and the Giants had 20%.

But in 2005 then-Town chairman Ken Davy transferred the football club’s stake to his company Huddersfield Sporting Pride.

He said the move was necessary to protect the Terriers from the stadium’s debts.

Huddersfield Giants chairman Mr Davy agreed to transfer the shares back to Town as part of the deal which saw Dean Hoyle take over as chairman in 2009.

But the deal needs the consent of the third stakeholder – the council – before it could go through.

Senior councillors backed a deal in August but last night confirmed it had not gone ahead.

Council leader Clr Mehboob Khan said: “We were very concerned to hear that the transfer of shares had not proceeded as planned and agreed by all parties.

“Kirklees Council believes it is in the best interests of the stadium and the sporting clubs that there is a good working relationship between all parties and we will do all we can at councillor and officer level to try and get an agreement ratified.

“We will hold urgent talks to get all parties back to the table and conclude an agreement.

“Due to commercial confidentiality, we cannot make any other comment.”

Town owner Dean Hoyle released a short statement which said: “It has got to a very critical stage. The board of Huddersfield Town has asked KSDL to put out a statement by the end of this week.”

KSDL chief executive Gareth Davies said they were unable to comment. Mr Davy failed to respond to the Examiner’s request for a comment from him.

Stephen King, chairman of the Huddersfield Town Supporters Association, said: “The deal was announced almost two years ago regarding the ownership of the Galpharm Stadium.

“Huddersfield Town fans are desperate to know when the football club will regain its 40% share in the stadium/KSDL.

“Surely now after all this time the deal must have been concluded?”

The deal is necessary to bring stability to KSDL, allowing the company to work with other investors to make the ambitious HD One plan a reality.

It was back in January, 2010, that Kirklees councillors gave planning permission for the £100m development at the Galpharm.

The complex would create 912 jobs and will include a ski slope, casino, dozens of bars and restaurants and a hotel.

There will also be two night-clubs, a bingo hall, shops and 140 flats on the 11-hectare site.

 
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