Fleetwood Town owner Andy Pilley has struck a deal in principle to take full control of First Division club Waterford FC.
The Englishman was at the RSC for the Blues’ win over Galway United on Friday, is attending tonight’s trip to Cork City, with a press conference to confirm his acquisition due to be held in the south-east within the next 48 hours.
Pilley is purchasing the club – who are third in the table and still in the promotion hunt – from Richard Forrest.
His ownership stint since brokering a takeover pact from Lee Power lasted less than a year but the sale price is beneath the €1.3m they’d valued the club at in a prospectus distributed through English-based intermediaries Oakwell.
Mitch Cowling – club chairman under Forrest’s reign – is to remain in his post amid the changeover of control.
Fleetwood have undergone a meteoric rise since Tilley paid £500 for the club in 2004, climbing from the ninth tier to League One, in the process buying bargains such as Jamie Vardy and selling them on for massive profits.
Bohemians striker Promise Omochere became their latest recruit last month.
Pilley, 52, has also diversified his investments towards expanding his portfolio of clubs.
Operating to the template of Manchester City’s Arab backers, the City Group, he got the ball rolling last year by taking ownership of third divisions outfits in the United Arab Emirates and South Africa. The word Fleetwood features in both of their club names.
Pilley said in December: “We are experts at building football clubs and developing players and that’s something we are really excited to do in UAE and South Africa.
“We’re a forward-thinking club. It’s one thing Manchester City having a network of clubs, but who would have thought little old Fleetwood would go down the same route?”
There’s no suggestion of the famous 94-year Waterford brand being tampered with under this latest addition. Power reverted to the club’s original name by dropping the United once he took charge in early 2017.
Tilly is believed to have dug deep into the club’s background before committing, last week visiting their training facilities belonging to the South East Technological University (SETU).
He is also due to meet with the local council, landlords of the Regional Sports Centre their first team play home games at, as well as the governing body, the FAI.
He’s set for a courtroom battle too. Mr Pilley and three others are due to stand trial on October 10, following his denial of two counts of running a business with the intention of defrauding creditors, one count of false representation, and one count of being concerned with the retention of criminal property at Preston Crown Court.
The list of charges relate to the running of Mr Pilley’s firm, Business Energy Solutions.