Football: Saved Brighton to share New Den

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The Independent Online
A vote of club chairmen yesterday saved Brighton from being expelled from the Football League - and the club then celebrated by confirming plans to ground share with Millwall.

League club chairmen voted by 47-17 against a motion to expel the Seagulls following the late payment of a pounds 500,000 bond requested to secure their status. It means Brighton will kick off the new season next month ground sharing with Gillingham. But the club announced that they intended to move to Millwall's New Den at the earliest opportunity.

The chief of the consortium buying Brighton, Dick Knight, expects to be named as the new chairman next week. Knight said: "The Football League chairmen have shown understanding of our position and given us the benefit of the doubt with this vote of confidence.

"As for Brighton, we're very near to completing the takeover process whereby I shall become chairman of the club. Today is a new start and we want to take the club back where we belong.

"Although we shall start the season playing at Gillingham, the overwhelming majority of our fans would prefer us to ground share with Millwall and we will be applying to the League to make the switch as soon as it is possible.

"This whole process will prove quite costly but we believe it's worth it because we want to play at Millwall."

The outgoing chairman, Bill Archer, confirmed that he would be staying on the board once he has handed over the reins to Knight and pledged a massive cash injection of his own.

He said: "I have put in pounds 500,000 for the bond and I intend to add another pounds 1.5m to help take the club into the new millennium. "We have three years to build a new stadium and we have put in a planning application to both the league and the local council and we hope to complete our objective."

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