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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 October 2007, 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK
Lenagan seals takeover of Wigan
New Wigan owner Ian Lenagan
If you're a Wigan supporter, you remember the good times and want to get back to them

Ian Lenagan
Harlequins chairman Ian Lenagan has completed his takeover of Super League rivals Wigan Warriors.

The Wigan-born businessman has reached an agreement to buy an 89% stake from current owner Dave Whelan, with the deal taking effect on 1 December.

"I want to win things and match the success of St Helens, Bradford and Leeds because that's what Wigan deserves," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

Lenagan said he will continue to fund Quins until a "good buyer" was found.

The Rugby Football League has given Lenagan two years to find a buyer for his 65% stake in Harlequins, but he insisted he would not sell unless he was convinced the club was in safe hands.

"I couldn't take over Wigan and dump Quins," he said.


"But in terms of corporate governance, it's obviously nonsense to have a person controlling more than one club so the RFL have made it clear that if I control Wigan, I cannot control Harlequins.

"I don't want a forced sale. As soon as I find a good buyer who has the future of Harlequins at heart, then I'll do it.

"I've already had two people onto me who want to become involved. Harlequins is a great name, London is a great location and the franchise should be a cert. You need London as a venue for rugby league."

The new management team will include former Wigan and Great Britain centre Joe Lydon, who becomes chief executive of a new holding company.

Wigan owner Ian Lenagan, coach Brian Noble and chief executive Joe Lydon
Lenagan, Noble and Lydon want to bring success back to Wigan

Lydon, who became football manager at Wigan after playing his last game in 1997, was the RFL's technical director up to 2000 when he left to work for the Rugby Football Union from 2004-06.

"I am delighted to be returning to Wigan and, while respectful of the past, now look forward with enthusiasm to the challenges of helping to shape the future," said Lydon.

The Warriors, who have acquired an option to remain at the JJB stadium up to 2050, have already bid farewell to former chairman Maurice Lindsay.

Lindsay announced in August that he would step down as chairman at the end of the season and retire after two stints in charge spanning almost 30 years, prompting Whelan to put the club up for sale.

"This is an emotional day for me but the club is in very safe hands," he said.

It is my intention to return Wigan to what it has always been - a club with pride, integrity and fans who are liked throughout the rugby league world

Ian Lenagan

Lenagan, a successful theatre producer and chairman of the Sports Cafe chain, became chairman and majority shareholder of Harlequins two years ago.

But the multi-millionaire, whose software company Workplace Systems plc floated on the Stock Exchange in 2000, was born and raised in Wigan and has remained a Wigan fan despite his involvement with Quins.

"I didn't even dare dream as a boy that I could end up owning Wigan. I'm just delighted to be involved," said Lenagan, who also recently took a major stake in Oxford United.

"I think if you're a Wigan supporter - as I have been for more than 50 years - you remember the good times and want to get back to them.

"The last two or three years have been difficult for Wigan.

"It is my intention to return Wigan to what it has always been - a club with pride, with integrity and with supporters who are liked throughout the rugby league world, a club that performs in every respect on and off the field."

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