Accrington Stanley agrees £1.8m finance deal with What More UK

A new deal to clear £1.2m of old debt and secure around £600,000 in new working capital for Accrington Stanley FC has been agreed with fast growing local company What More UK Ltd.

Engineered by What More's founder Andy Holt and Accrington Stanley officials, the deal was finalised at a meeting of the club's shareholders. It puts the iconic club on a secure financial footing for the first time in many years, enabling it to plan for the future.

With more than 650 product lines, most sold under the household ‘Wham' brand, it supplies retailers throughout the UK, exports to around 65 countries and holds the prestigious Queen's Award for Enterprise in International Trade.

That separate pre-season deal, itself worth £200,000 to the club, saw its home ground renamed the Wham Stadium. What More also brought in a key partner company, PlasticBoxShop - which retails Wham brand products online - to become Stanley's new shirt sponsor as part of the same deal.

"Football's a strange business," he said. "While the top flight clubs deal in hundreds of millions, those in the lower leagues often struggle for financial survival on an almost daily basis, relying on the loyalty of their fans and goodwill of their investors and shareholders.

Under the new investment deal, which is subject to approval by the Football League, £1.2m. in debt owed by the club will be cleared using capital invested by What More UK and newly issued shares in the club

At his appointment as a director, he stressed that ownership of the club was not the issue.

"It's about custodianship of the club, and I am just the latest in a long line of custodians who have kept Accrington Stanley afloat over the years. All that really matters is that the club keeps going now and into the future, and I will be doing my level best on the business side of things to make sure that happens."

"I am confident that this iconic club can be taken to another level, both on and off the pitch, and be a source of pride for everyone involved with the club, for the fans and the wider community. It is the ultimate good news story for football and Accrington Stanley fans, wherever they are around the world, should be delighted."

"The club will finally see itself on an even keel, with the opportunity to progress. Although we won't see an immediate increase in the budget, the stability that will be brought to club will improve things dramatically."

Looking ahead, Mr Holt said he did have plans for further investment, particularly around improvements to the club's facilities, but it was too early to go into detail.

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