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US businessman Brad Galinson completes takeover of Gillingham FC and pledges 'lucrative transfer window'

Florida-based businessman Brad Galinson has completed his takeover of Gillingham FC - marking the end of 27 years under Paul Scally's leadership.

Mr Galinson, who made his fortune in property, says he and his family are "absolutely delighted" and promised fans a "lucrative transfer window".

Gillingham fans will hope US property tycoon Brad Galinson can help the club enjoy better times ahead
Gillingham fans will hope US property tycoon Brad Galinson can help the club enjoy better times ahead

It has been confirmed that the businessman has bought a majority stake in the League Two club, with Mr Scally retaining a minority shareholding.

In a statement, Gillingham FC said: "After a long, collaborative due diligence process, we can today confirm that Brad Galinson has acquired a majority shareholding in GFC Holdings and Gillingham Football Club Ltd.

"As a result, Brad Galinson will become the majority shareholder, with Paul Scally retaining a minority shareholding."

Mr Galinson praised outgoing Gills chairman Paul Scally's work.

The new owner said: "Myself and my family are absolutely delighted to have completed the acquisition of Gillingham Football Club. It is a club with a rich heritage and a passionate, loyal fan base."

He added: "Paul Scally has done an excellent job over the last 27 years and we hope with our involvement the club will move forward.

"A bright future with, hopefully, more goals and a lucrative transfer window are on the horizon."

Paul Scally, who announced he was taking a step back from the club earlier this year, said: "This is a monumental, exciting and historical time in our club’s long history.

"Brad and his family will be arriving into the UK in early January and I’m sure will be looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible.

"He has become not only a partner but I have grown to consider him a friend."

Talks of a takeover have been rife for years, but anticipation grew when in November, a 'registration of a charge' over Priestfield was filed in Mr Galinson's name.

Paul Scally will retain a minor shareholding.
Paul Scally will retain a minor shareholding.

The charge gave the new owner the freehold of the ground in return for his investment.

Mr Scally, who handed over his role as chairman to Paul Fisher this season, has shared a tumultuous relationship with fans since he took over the club in 1995.

He blamed hostile abuse for his decision to step back from the day to day business at the Gills.

For many years he had hinted at possible investors coming on board but nothing of note materialised, insisting he didn’t want to risk the club’s future.

But with the Gills in the bottom two of League 2 and facing possible relegation into non-league, the need for action has become more urgent.

Gillingham have struggled to compete financially with those clubs around them, dropping out of League 1 last season and once more finding life tough in the bottom end of the Football League.

Fans have taken to social media to share their views on the "historic" takeover, with some believing "Christmas has come early".

One said: "Decent early Christmas present that. Let’s hope for some real change on and off the pitch."

Some fans celebrated the new owners American roots, with one wishing for "hotdogs, beef jerky, cheerleaders and Duff beer on match days!"

However, other fans took aim at the previous owner's long tenure at the club, adding: "27 years too late, he's milked the club dry."

Chairman Paul Fisher has reached out to fans, expressing his delight in having played a role in the takeover.

"So pleased to have helped facilitate this exciting new era for the Gills. The future starts today. See you all on Boxing Day." said Mr Fisher.

"Thank you Paul. You’ll never have to buy a pint in Gillingham again!" was the response from one grateful fan, while another added: "Historic. Exciting times ahead I hope!"

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