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Newport County: League Two club in advanced talks over new ownership

Rodney Parade
Newport County signed a new one-year extension to their lease of Rodney Parade before the start of the season

Newport County are confident of receiving firm takeover bids for the club by the end of the week.

Two unnamed interested parties are at an advanced stage of a potential deal for one to become the new majority shareholder at the League Two club.

Newport are owned and run by the club's supporters trust but have sought out new investment after recent losses.

Proposals are close to being submitted which will be put before fans ahead of a vote on a deal.

Former director Colin Everett, who has been acting as an independent link between the board and the potential investors, says the situation is "moving fast" and that the club are keen for "a resolution within weeks, not months".

Newport recorded a financial loss of £1.2m last year and face a shortfall in their operational budget for the current season.

"We are talking to two serious investors separately, they're both at an advanced stage," Everett told BBC Radio Wales Sport.

"We expect proposals by the end of the week - which is the deadline we've given them - and if we think it can work out and the Trust members want to sell, we would sell a majority shareholding in the club to them."

Everett said "an ideal scenario" would be for the new investor to take a 51% shareholding, with the Trust - who took over the cub in 2015 and have a 79% stake - retaining around 25%.

He added that the two parties are both "credible" and would be keen to work with the Trust.

'Hard-earned cash'

"It's great to be supporter-owned in terms of democracy and having the supporters' voice," he said. "But we've run the end of the road of being able to reach the serious finance from supporters to sustain the club and to grow it on and off the pitch.

"We really value our Trust members and the hard-earned money they've put in - it's not something we take for granted.

"But we get between £100,000 and £110,000 a year from the Trust; we'd have to quadruple that to restore our annual budget - and we've got some creditors to pay. That's a massive ask for very much a working-class city population.

"I think most people get the realism here that we need to sell. Lots of clubs have faulted with new owners, some have done well, so there's an anxiety of who it will be.

"But the last thing we want is to get a cash-flow problem. We're not in that position at the moment.

"You think of what's happened at Southend, that's the last thing we want. We need to stabilise with good owners who understand football and can work with us, and the Trust will still exist and grow and co-invest."

The Exiles, who in July signed a new one-year lease to remain at Dragons RFC's Rodney Parade, are thought to have one of the smallest budgets in League Two.

Newport finished 15th last year under manager Graham Coughlan and saw several key players, including captain Mickey Demetriou, turn down new contracts and leave the club over the summer.

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