STALYBRIDGE Celtic has new backers after Nigel Jones and Paul Bowden replaced Rob Gorski as the club’s majority shareholders.
And after a season that saw relegation, financial problems and manager Chris Willcock leave, better fortunes may be on the horizon at Bower Fold.
Target number one? Making it back to the Northern Premier League Premier Division.
The new men come from a financial services background and have been involved at North West Counties League side Wythenshawe Town.
They have been involved in several businesses together and share other joint interests.
Most notably, they are co-owners of Lucander, a British-trained racing horse who recently won two races in Bahrain this winter, including winning the Prince of Bahrain Cup.
Now after a turbulent time, on and off the field, things may be turning.
Nigel, operational head of financial services company made up of 500 people, said: “It feels very exciting! It was a bit of a whirlwind.
“I looked at a couple of other options, including remaining at Wythenshawe, but it felt like the right move at the right time.
“I appreciate the club’s been relegated but we’re very confident we can get that ground back – we’re looking for a promotion in the first two seasons.
“If anything, in the first season – given we’ve gone down into a lower tier – that should be achievable.
“We can’t wait to meet everybody and we’re really looking forward to taking the club forward.
“For me, it was an easy decision. Paul and I have other investments together, we’re both sporting fans and I am fully aware of Stalybridge Celtic and how much potential this club has.
“We want the fans to be involved with the club and for them to have a club they can feel part of and proud of.”
Bristol-based Paul added: “In recent years I’ve fallen out of love with football.
“The top of the sport is everything, whereas the grassroots is always an afterthought.
“I’m relishing the opportunity to get involved with Stalybridge and its fans to both reinvigorate the club and my own football passion.”
Rob Gorski said: “I would like to officially welcome Nigel and Paul to the club.
“I sincerely believe that they have what it will take to drive our club forward.
“They are successful, intelligent businessmen. However, they are also sporting people and I believe that there are exciting times ahead for the club and its fans.
“I would like to thank every single person that I have worked with over the past two decades – paid or volunteer.
“I have memories that I will cherish forever. Our club has some truly exceptional volunteers who ought to feel proud of their contribution to the club over the years and I trust that they will enjoy the ride with Nigel and Paul.”
Stalybridge Celtic Supporters Association has been vocal in helping the club through money troubles for the season that has just been completed.
And it hopes to have a close relationship with the new men in charge, who want to improve the matchday experience.
It said in a statement: “The SCSA welcome the news of a new majority shareholding at the club.
“The SCSA has not yet met with Nigel and Paul but plans to do so shortly.
“The SCSA did have a conversation with Rob Gorski and discussed the deal in more detail, which we are thankful to Rob for.
“We would like to work closely with Nigel and Paul and are looking forward to building a strong relationship which will enable us to continue in our efforts to give the fans a voice.
“We will only become stronger if we can all work together and we encourage all Celts to support this new era at the club.”