US sport executive set to pour cash into Cards

A VETERAN American sports executive who has turned around the fortunes of baseball teams is poised to become a lead investor and operator of Woking Football Club.

The Cards announced this week that Final Third Sport, LLC, led by John Katz and Drew Volpe, has the support of the board of directors.

John Katz, the potential new lead investor in Woking FC, with club chairman Rosemary Johnson and first team manager Alan Dowson

The club said: “There are numerous conditions that must be satisfied before a shares transference may occur, including the conclusion of the proposed appeal being carried out by a different organisation, approval of the football authorities and appropriate timing throughout the process. Final Third Sport is not connected to the organisation that has proposed an appeal.”

GolDev, which unsuccessfully applied to build a new 9,000-seat stadium and more than 1,000 adjacent flats, has served notice that it plans to appeal the overwhelming rejection of the application by Woking Borough Council.

Woking FC does not support GolDev’s intention to appeal.

The Cards said that Mr Katz and Mr Volpe have more than a half-century of combined experience in operating baseball clubs and multi-use baseball grounds, along with experience in English and global football.

Mr Katz, who met the Woking FC directors at their meeting on 5 October, said: “The Cards are the perfect fit for us on every level.

“Woking is a big club with massive potential to challenge for a spot in the Football League. This club has been a big part of the community since the late 19th century. Our vision to grow the club relies on the history, passion and service in the community. We look forward to growing existing relationships and partnerships across Woking and Surrey, and to build new partnerships that will both take the club to the next level and pave the way for positive growth both on and off the pitch.”

Alan “Dowse” Dowson, the Woking first team manager, said: “Having these blokes come in will be massive for the club.”

Wayne Gold, the GolDev managing director, told the News & Mail that the proposed new investment into the club does not change his plans to appeal.

“It’s a great thing for the club,” Mr Gold said. “We were never there to run the club but to help it financially so that it could find someone like this to run the club and drive the football on the pitch. We want to work together.”

Last week, Mr Gold met representatives of the South Woking Action Group, which had campaigned against his plans.

They issued a joint statement saying: “Wayne started by apologising for the previous lack of positive engagement with the local community, and that now he has new partners that will change for the better.

“He said that while he is still intending to appeal, he is keen to engage with the local community to explore whether an alternative proposal would be more acceptable. The discussion was amicable, and both parties agreed to continue the dialogue going forward.”

For more on this story, see the 22 October edition of the Woking News & Mail, in shops now

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