FORMER Plymouth Albion players Dave Venables and Bruce Priday have taken over the National One club.
The pair were linked with an attempted takeover last season but it never happened. However, they have now succeeded in a pre-packed deal after the club went into administration on Friday, resulting in a 30-point deduction.
Venables and Priday played together for Albion during the 1980s.
Venables, who had a 10-year player career at Plymouth, had a spell as a director at the club between 2010 and 2011 and has also been chairman of Saltash RFC. He runs a landfill, skip and recycling company.
Priday is also a former Exeter Chiefs player and has links with their chief executive Tony Rowe. He is chairman of Exeter-based company Prydis, which specialises in wealth management, accounting and legal services.
“We have become involved because we want the club with its long and proud history to thrive and Plymouth deserves to have a top flight professional rugby team,” they said in a joint statement.
“We have serious plans to develop an infrastructure and team that can play at the highest level and a club that is run on a sound, sustainable financial basis.”
They received interim approval from the RFU and Devon RFU to take over the club’s assets late on Friday, when they were also told about the 30 point deduction.
That meant Albion had to beat Wharfedale on Saturday to be guaranteed of National One survival.
The team, who are believed to have been upset by the club’s recent off-the-field problems and the prospect of losing so many points, managed to do that, claiming a 30-10 victory.
“We spoke to Graham Dawe after the game and congratulated him on how well the team went and for securing a very important win, which the team did with commitment and some very good spells of rugby,” said Venables and Priday.
“The win ensured that Plymouth Albion remain in National One for next season even after the 30-point sanction applied by the RFU.”
However, in a statement Venables and Priday did not confirm whether they wanted to keep either Dawe or the players that have helped the club claim 19 wins this season.
All they did say was: “We intend listening to opinions from all sources including the loyal support who have stuck with and helped the club through difficult times.”
It is believed that now the club are debt free they will look to try and secure the freehold of their ground from Plymouth City Council to enable them to progress.