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Page last updated at 14:56 GMT, Thursday, 2 July 2009 15:56 UK

Consortium takes over at Plymouth

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Stapleton resigns as Argyle chairman

A consortium of Japanese and local businessmen has secured a majority interest in Plymouth Argyle as Paul Stapleton steps down as chairman.

Japanese businessman Yasuaki Kagami now owns 38% of the shares with Sir Roy Gardner and Keith Todd owning 13%, giving the consortium 51%.

Kagami's company Shonan Management Corporation first invested in the Championship club in April 2008.

Stapleton will now continue in the role of vice-chairman at Plymouth Argyle.

Former Manchester United chairman Gardner is Plymouth's new chairman and will be joined on the board by Todd, with whom he has a joint venture company, KKC.

Gardner aims to get Plymouth into top flight

Gardner said the main aim of the new consortium was to turn Plymouth into a Premier League side within the next five years.

"Anyone who knows me, will know of my passion for football and I have been looking to get back into the game for a while now," he said.

"This is my opportunity. We have got some exciting ideas and I am delighted to have this opportunity."

The new owners of the club have confirmed that Paul Sturrock will remain as manager.

Kagami, who has an option to gain more shares in the next year, increased his holding from 20% to 38% last week when he bought the shares of ex-Argyle director Phill Gill.

The Japanese businessman has been joined on the Argyle board by American George Synan, who has been representing his interests during the takeover negotiations.

Kagami and KKC have said they will release a five-year plan outlining the club's future by the end of 2009.

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Strengthening links with football clubs in both Japan and the USA, and finishing the redevelopment of Home Park are two of the proposals already outlined by the consortium.

Stapleton, who oversaw the development of three sides of Home Park as well as two promotions, said his eight years as chairman had been a "time of great pride".

He added: "I have been very lucky to have people around who have supported me on the board and the staff at the club as well.

"The fans have been very supportive to all of us and we thank them all for that.

"We have taken this club as far was we think we can and it is time to pass on the baton."

Existing board members Tony Wrathall and Robert Dennerly also remain on the board alongside Stapleton.



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