Brighton to reject Brady's offer

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The Independent Online
Brighton announced last night that they will reject an attempt by Liam Brady, their former manager, to save the club.

As the Football Association prepared to launch its inquiry into Saturday's riot, which led to the abandonment of the match with York City after just 17 minutes, Brady offered yesterday to pay the pounds 40,000 deposit needed to keep Brighton at the Goldstone Ground for one more season. Brady is leading a consortium which wants to take over the running of the relegated Second Division club.

In a statement issued through the club's chief executive, David Bellotti, the chairman Bill Archer said: "The offer is totally irrelevant and will not be accepted. It must be remembered that we can only stay at the Goldstone for one more season and will be in exactly the same position next year without planning support from Hove Borough Council."

Archer added that the riot had not deterred the club from their aim of building a multi-purpose stadium in the town, which will be "fit for the 21st century".

The Second Division game with York was abandoned when spectators invaded the pitch and broke both goals. An attempt was made to storm the dressing- rooms. Police, who detained two people, expect to make further arrests after studying video footage of the disturbances.

Brady, who admitted he would like to be involved in the running of the club, refused to name his financial backer. But he did say: "He's a local person, a long-time Albion supporter and a man of high business acumen."

He said while co-owner Greg Stanley, who has a major financial investment in the club, was interested in his scheme, the majority shareholder, Archer, was not. Brady added: "I am prepared, as are my colleagues, to put substantial money into the club."

The Brighton board currently have plans in place to ground-share with Portsmouth after selling the ground to Chartwell Lane plc.

The Football League insists it will not give the go-ahead unless the club produce definitive plans to move back to Brighton and build a new stadium. They have been given a deadline of 24 May.

The new owners plan to start demolishing the ground in June. However, they have said they will delay doing so if Brighton want to lease the ground back. That would cost the club pounds 480,000 for next season but the club have offered only pounds 200,000.

It is unclear whether the game will be replayed but York need a point to avoid relegation.

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