Boyzone 'excited' about Chorley FC talks

1 week ago 22

Brian McFadden of Westlife with Shane Lynch and Keith Duffy of BoyzoneImage source, PA Media

Image caption,

Former Westlife member Brian McFadden joined Boyzone's Shane Lynch and Keith Duffy at Saturday's game

By Rumeana Jahangir & Molly Brewer

BBC News

Members of the former boy band Boyzone have attended a Chorley FC game amid expectations they could invest in it.

They are in negotiations that could lead to the Irish stars becoming the "face of the football club".

Singers Shane Lynch and Keith Duffy were joined by former Westlife member Brian McFadden at Saturday's FA Trophy match.

Speaking at Chorley's Victory Park stadium, Lynch said there were still "lots of conversations to be had".

Officials and fans hope the band will draw more attention and money for the club, taken over last May by London-based entrepreneur Prince Yemoh, who said he wanted to restore the "buzz".

'It's like being home'

Speaking at the 4,100-capacity ground, Lynch told BBC North West Tonight he had visited the club previously following an invitation from business partners.

"I fell in love with the place, they asked me if I would like to help out and I called the boys.

"We're just here to build on the community, on the real stars who are on the pitch… and it's very, very exciting."

Image source, PA Media

Image caption,

Keith Duffy posed with fans before the game at Victory Park

Keith Duffy added: "We're from a working-class background in the north side of Dublin and it's all about family, it's all about community - and coming here today, it's like being home.

"Everybody's been very welcoming, there's like a family thing going on here and hopefully we're going to be the new adopted sons."

Earlier this week, Tom Clarke, the club's chief operating officer, said: "It would be wonderful if they were to come in and have an active role within the club, and ultimately that's got to be what our goal is set for, as part of those negotiations."

Officials at Chorley FC - who play in the sixth-tier National League North - said the collaboration was "a game-changer" showcasing the Lancashire town, which has a population of about 120,000.

They commented "this partnership with Boyzone has the potential to take Chorley FC to new heights".

The club has dismissed speculation over its commercial status, saying it remained "financially stable" and its "operations continue without disruption".

Image source, PA Media

Image caption,

Westlife's Brian McFadden (standing) said it was "an exciting day"

Former lead singer Ronan Keating, who was unable to attend the game, shared some words on his Magic FM breakfast show earlier this week, saying: "Boyzone and Chorley FC are a match made in heaven."

But the going got tough on Saturday, when Chorley were beaten 3-1 by Solihull Moors.

Love me for more seasons

Formed in 1993, Boyzone had six number one singles in the UK including No Matter What, along with a string of hits such as Picture of You and a cover version of Father and Son. Band member Stephen Gately died in 2009.

Chorley FC, known as the Magpies due to their black-and-white shirts, began as a rugby club but switched to football in 1883.

Image source, PA Media

Image caption,

Boyzone had huge success in the 1990s

If discussions prove successful, Boyzone will join a cast of celebrities who are prominently supporting a lower-league club.

Wrexham has experienced a significant boost under the ownership of Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney since 2021.

Sir Elton John also became president of his childhood club Watford FC in 1973.

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