New Devils owners plan to move into St Boniface Arena in 2013
PLYMOUTH Devils' new owners are expecting to move into the city speedway club 'for real' early next year.
A member of the consortium which has secured a two-year lease on the St Boniface Arena said there were still legal matters to tie up before the takeover could be completed.
Less than a fortnight ago, the city club looked doomed after negotiations with the governors of St Boniface College, the body responsible for their track, hit a brick wall.
Consortium members were trying to tie up a worthwhile lease at the St Boniface Arena before the annual meeting of the sport's governing body, the BSPA.
Devils had to declare at the meeting they were running next year.
Because talks with the St Boniface governors dragged on, the consortium missed the deadline.
A time extension and the intervention of BSPA chairman Alex Harkness finally led to an agreement being drafted last Friday.
The new Devils' owners, who acquired the club from its former promoter, Mike Bowden, plan to revamp the circuit.
But one consortium member, speedway expert Godfrey Spargo, said: "It's a relief it's happened, but there's still some legal bits to do (before the lease is finalised).
"We'll also have to set up an off the shelf company to run it – we haven't done that up to now because we didn't know if anything was going to go through.
"We won't just walk into St Boniface Arena. It will probably be January before we start to do any work there.
"We've got a lot of plans for the track and I certainly hope we will manage to get them done."
One of the first improvements to be made is likely to be an upgrade of the track itself, possibly using clay-based material produced at Newton Abbot.
Consortium members will also be looking at lighting at the circuit and some of the facilities for fans.
All being well, the new season for the Devils will begin in March with a Premier League trophy competition.
The competition, which starts before the Devils' Premier League programme, will be regionalised.
That means teams based in four quadrants of the UK will compete in 'local' leagues, or groups, before reaching the semi-finals.
Devils will be grouped with Somerset, Rye House and Ipswich.
The consortium started work on their takeover bid back in July.
Devils finished bottom of the Premier League in their second season in the UK's second tier of speedway.
In their debut Premier season the year before, Devils finished second bottom.