Newport County set for fresh investment

By Peter ShuttleworthBBC Sport Wales
Rodney Parade
Rodney Parade is the home of Newport and the Dragons

Newport County's dream of a Football League return is to be boosted by fresh investment from up to four local businessmen.

One-time major benefactor and former director Matt Southall is to lead a consortium to invest in the club.

But the new backers must wait until after Newport's Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 20 August before the boardroom powershift can start.

EuroMillions winner Les Scadding will also join the Newport board this week.

President David Hando, who was instrumental in re-forming County after the old club was wound-up in 1989, took over as interim chairman from previous chief Chris Blight following his resignation in July, 2012.

The Conference Premier club has moved from its old Spytty Park home to the city's rugby stadium at Rodney Parade this summer.

And the 2012 FA Trophy finalists will continue an off-the-field transformation with further new investment, led by millionaire Southall whose recruitment company has a £1bn turnover.

Mark Crook, joint managing director of Newport-based Henry Howard Finance, Scott Salter, director of Go Compare financial services comparisons site and Newport stockbroker Dan O'Connell of Kymin financial services are understood to be in talks as they consider investing in Newport.

Not all investors will join the Newport board, but will help with its running and are expected to appoint County's first chief executive once their funding is approved.

Blight's departure, which has paved the way for the new investment, means that County currently have just two board members.

But lifelong fan Scadding, who won £45.5m in November 2009, will add to add the board when he joins Hando and Howard Greenhaf as a director this week.

County were relegated from the Football League in 1988, the year before the old club went bust, and the new investment hopes to inspire the club back into the league 25 years after their relegation.

Newport boss Justin Edinburgh agreed a new contract last month and has already signed nine players this summer, including four strikers, and is hoping to add former Chelsea goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley before their Conference opener at Mansfield Town on 11 August.