LOTTERY winner Les Scadding is hoping to lead Newport County AFC into the Promised Land of the Football League after being announced as their new chairman.
Scadding, who scooped a whopping £45 million on the Euro Millions, is stepping up into the role having become a board member last month.
Acting chairman David Hando stands down and returns to life as an ambassador for the club as their honorary president as the Exiles look to push on having moved to Rodney Parade and gone top of the Conference.
Scadding is excited by the challenge and admits Newport County are now a passion project for him.
“I think it’s a feeling of every one of us being in this together and wanting the club to go forward, we have a shared vision for the club,” he told the Argus.
“I am happy to do the job because I know I’m getting all the support from my fellow board members and other people around. It’s not a case of one person being on their own, we are a team. We all want to see County back in the Football League.”
Scadding isn’t going to be a sugar daddy and believes fans would prefer a more self-sustaining structure to be in place anyway.
“I hope the fans aren’t expecting me to be a man putting all the money in, I think they realise that’s not a healthy situation for a non-league club or any club really,” he said.
“We were at Mansfield, Steve Dance and I, and we met the fans coming out and they were wonderful to us, full of welcomes and good wishes and it blew me away, their enthusiasm was fabulous.
“I don’t know how the fans will react to this one (Scadding becoming chairman) but I think generally people realise I am an ordinary bloke who had great good fortune.
“I have no airs or graces and I love Newport County and want to continue supporting the club, and I think if I can do this now, it’s ideal.
“I’ve had a great chance in life, I’ve retired early, I don’t have to work, I can do what I want and enjoy myself if I want. But my time spare, I wanted a passion to fill it and that’s Newport County.
“I’ve been associated with the club for over a year and I enjoy it thoroughly, especially when we win.”
Scadding admits he’s always been happiest involved in the beautiful game.
“I have always been involved with football in some capacity since playing as a kid,” he said.
“My son was in the Bristol City academy and I re-started an under-16 south of England representative squad and kept that going for years.
“I have always enjoyed being around competitive football.
“This club has grabbed me, I’ve always known of Newport County, there is a hell of a history here and we want to write a new chapter.
“We will have highs and lows and I’ve seen it all before. I’ve not been on the end of the vicious stuff like Chris (Blight, ex-chairman) had, but I’ll just look at people and smile if that happens.”
Director Howard Greenhaf believes Scadding was an obvious choice to make.
“Les has said he wants to take it on and we are all 100% behind him,” he said.
“He’s taking it on until the end of the season and we’re all fully behind him and thrilled he’s come on board.
“We also have other people who are considering coming on board, separate to the issue of the consortium (led by Matt Southall and reported in the Argus).
“We have told them we are going to continue as if they aren’t there and wait for the plans to be put in writing,” he said.
“It’s an ongoing discussion.”
Greenhaf also confirmed manager Justin Edinburgh is in line for a healthy boost to his budget by January.
“We are top of the league now and if things continue as they are we’ll certainly increase the budget in January and give Justin every spare penny we’ve got,” he explained.
“Aaron O’Connor and Mike Flynn’s signings took us to a situation where we were budgeting on a gate of 1,650 but that obviously seems conservative now.”