Livi taken over, now we're loaded
Lionheart's first step is to confirm the appointment of Allan Preston as team manager at Livingston.
"We are delighted to take this major step forward in restoring Livingston's fortunes on and off the field," commented Lionheart's Pearse Flynn.
"There are a few hurdles to be overcome during the weeks ahead, but we move forward with confidence and the knowledge that we have the goodwill and support of Livingston supporters, friends and commercial partners.
"Our absolute priority will be to ensure that Allan Preston and his management team -including Billy Kirkwood and Paul Hegarty - can start planning properly for the new season, including re-building the football squad in readiness to compete in the SPL and defend the CIS Cup in 2004-5."
Lionheart will assume management control of Livingston following lengthy negotiations involving various parties. The consortium was named as preferred bidder for the club on April 27th.
Pearse Flynn confirmed that Lionheart intends to appoint an interim general manager and chairman as the consortium paves the way to assuming full management control.
Lionheart intends that Dr Tony Kinder, the man who took part in exhaustive negotiations during Livingston's period in administration, will act as chairman. Dr Kinder was a director of Livingston previously and a well-known figure in West Lothian business and politics.
The new general manager will be Vivien Kyles, a Chartered Accountant and an accomplished commercial businesswoman who has worked previously for Damovo and Ernst & Young. Vivien will be meeting all staff and conducting a review of the Livingston business with immediate effect.
"We are developing a team which will ensure that Livingston is well-managed, well-led and which can compete successfully on the pitch as well as in the commercial areas required to sustain the best possible football operation," added Pearse Flynn.
"We would like to thank everyone who has played a part in ensuring the future of Livingston, not least the supporters whose enthusiasm and backing are extremely gratifying."
West Lothian Council has warmly welcomed the news that the Lionheart Consortium has entered into a management agreement to operate Livingston Football Club.
Councillor Willie Dunn, Convener of the Enterprise and Development Committee, said: “We warmly welcome this development which is great news for Livingston Football Club and for the people of West Lothian.
“Livingston Football Club can now, hopefully, put the past few months behind it and look forward to the coming season. We are delighted that by working closely with the interested parties we have been able to play our part in securing the future of sustainable football in West Lothian.
”We would like to take this opportunity to wish the Lionheart Consortium every success for the future.”
LIVINGSTON FC announced a new manager, chairman and general manager in the space of five minutes when the Lionheart consortium confirmed it had agreed the basis of management control of the club with administrator Kroll.
Allan Preston takes charge of team matters with immediate effect, whilst Tony Kinder moves into the chairman's seat with Vivien Kyles - who has previously worked for Damavo and Ernst and Young - taking over as new general manager.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, June 4, Lionheart's Pearse Flynn said: "This allows us to draw a line under the negativity and drip drip effect that has been going on at the club.
Allan Preston acknowledged the job done by former manager Davie Hay, saying he would be a difficult act to follow. "He's someone I will be leaning on, along with a few others," added the new boss.
Season tickets will go on sale at the club from Monday.
Flag-waving fans outside the stadium welcomed the move. "It's a relief," they said, "and can we ask Pearse not to let this happen again."
Inverness Thistle could be one of the first to benefit from the new regime at Livingston. Having previously abstained in a vote to allow Inverness to ground-share with Aberdeen, Livi are now likely to vote in favour. Mr Flynn said his advice to the administrators would be to vote in favour. "I believe in promotion and relegation," he added, "sitting on the fence does not help."
West Lothian Council has warmly welcomed the news that Lionheart now had management control. Councillor Willie Dunn, who was heavily involved in the negotiations, said: “We warmly welcome this development which is great news for Livingston Football Club and for the people of West Lothian."
By Eddie Anderson of www.westlothiannews.co.uk