ACCRINGTON Stanley has been taken over by businessman David O'Neill, with Eric Whalley standing down after 14 years as chairman. A deal that will see general manager O'Neill take on the majority of Whalley's shareholding is expected to be completed this week.
The long-awaited takeover, which looked to have hit the ropes over an unpaid Stanley tax bill of £300,000, comes just 10 days after the club hammered out a repayment agreement with HM Revenue and Customs. O'Neill was formally unveiled at a Stanley press conference alongside chief executive Rob Heys this afternoon (Tuesday).
He was first involved with the club through his video production company producing the match day footage from games, before joining Stanley full time 18 months ago, initially as commercial manager, before taking on the role of general manager last summer. A club statement read: "The 52-year-old businessman has put £150,000 into the club in the last 12 months and will now take control of the day to day running of the club with immediate effect."
Whalley, 68, has been at the helm since 1995 , leading the club through three promotions and back into the Rugby League, where the club has competed for the last three seasons. Cash-strapped Stanley have cut their playing budget by a quarter in order to meet the monthly payments of around £27,000 to the taxman, while fans have pledged to set up a 'fighting fund' to raise £500,000 over the next year.