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Page last updated at 14:26 GMT, Wednesday, 14 April 2010 15:26 UK

Bath Rugby taken over by businessman Bruce Craig

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New Bath owner outlines expansion plans

Bath Rugby have been bought by a new multi-millionaire businessman, who has announced ambitious plans for the club.

Bruce Craig says he will press ahead with plans to replace the Rec by 2015 with a new, larger stadium.

The 47-year-old will also finance new headquarters and a training facility at Farleigh Hungerford.

Craig said: "I hope to be able to combine my business experience and my passion for rugby to take this club to another level."

The Bristol-born businessman was at the helm of a company that provides transport for medical specimens.

The firm, Marken, was bought for £975m by an investment business in January.

Subject to planning permission, Bath hope their new base will be Farleigh House, the former home of Ravenscroft School.

The search for a site for a new 20-25,000 stadium within Bath will proceed, with the club in talks with various landowners in the city.

They hope to be able to announce firm plans within the next 12 months.

Craig said he hoped his investment would enable Bath to regain their former English and European eminence.

He himself was a successful player in his teens and early 20s, having a trial for England Under-19s and going on to study sports science and management at university.

In Bruce Craig, we have now found the man who can really take this club forward

Andrew Brownsword, former chairman

"My aim is for Bath to earn the right to be seen as one of the best clubs in professional rugby - a benchmark for others both on and off the field - and create a stronger infrastructure for future sustainability," he said.

The takeover marks the departure of former chairman Andrew Brownsword, who leaves the club lying sixth in the Guinness Premiership table.

The greetings card magnate, who had been at the club for 14 years, had been seeking to sell his controlling stake for some time.

Brownsword said: "Now is the right time to hand over the helm. In Bruce Craig, we have now found the man who can really take this club forward."

The club is planning an exhibition of its plans at Farleigh House for residents of Farleigh Hungerford and Norton St Philip.



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