Tata buy into Scunthorpe United
Updated Sunday, 1st April 2012
Steve Wharton, the Scunthorpe United chairman, has confirmed ownership of the club is now with the Indian family who own the town's steelworks, with the new owners promising significant investment as well as rebranding.
Wharton's future as majority shareholder has been in doubt since he first revealed in an Iron-Bru.net interview at the end of last season that he was stepping up efforts to find his successor as chairman.
Rumours had suggested the Tata family, whose Tata Steel company has owned the Scunthorpe works since it bought Corus in August 2007, were in the frame and this has now been bourne out.
"I am delighted to have found a successor with a long-term commitment to the area, as proven by their effective reduction in staffing levels and benefits at the steelworks," said Wharton.
"This is the kind of business sense that I think is widely missing in football, and I think could really benefit Scunthorpe United. Although I am handing over day-to-day control of the club, I will remain a lifelong Iron fan and will be a regular at games."
The Iron's new chairman will be Ratan Tata, who is expected to appoint former Corus directors Andrew Robb and Jacobus Schraven to the club's board of directors.
Tata is not expected to have a significant day-to-day involvement in the club, and is unlikely to attend a first-team game this season.
Rex Garton and Jason Oxenforth's long-term future as board members is unclear, but it is thought they will remain at least in a temporary capacity to ease the transition.
"I am close friends wit the Rao family who founded Venky's, and having heard about their success they are enjoying at Blackburn I thought it would be a great opportunity to show our commitment to Scunthorpe and North Lincolnshire," said Tata.
"I have learnt from their experiences regarding backing popular fans favourites such as Steve Kean, and I am pleased to announce that the popular Brian Laws is to return as director of football. Mr Wharton informed me of his friendship with Brian and his love of the club.
"We are keen to maintain the history of the club, and as part of a lucrative sponsorship deal will become shirt sponsors in a five-year deal. Included in this deal will be a change in name to the Scunthorpe Steelers, to better reflect the company's association with the Tata Steel name.
"They say a fool and his money are easily parted, and I would like to assure Steelers fans that my investment will be closely monitored to ensure we all enjoy the success fans so richly deserve."
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