Nuneaton Borough name Nick Hawkins as National League North club's new owner
Nuneaton Borough have named Nick Hawkins as the new owner of the sixth-tier club to end immediate concerns about their future.
Financially-challenged Boro, 23rd in National League North, had been under threat of going out of business for the second time in just over 10 years.
But they have been rescued by local-based former non-league player Hawkins, who runs a refurbishment company.
"It came about from friends in the game via social media," he told BBC Sport.
"As a company, we do refurbishments. And they were asking me if I could come and help out and have a look at the refurbishment.
"I then understood a little bit more about the club and what was required and realised it wasn't too far out of my remit.
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Boro, who reformed Nuneaton Town as a phoenix club when they first went bust in 2008, were allowed to revert to their name of Nuneaton Borough earlier this year.
But they have so far looked unlikely to get back to their most fondly remembered days at their old Manor Park home, where, four decades ago in 1979-80, they were one of the 20 founder members of the original Alliance Premier League - English football's first fifth division and pre-runner to the Conference.
As Nuneaton Town they did briefly get back to the fifth tier in 2012, within four years of their reformation, spending three seasons there before relegation under Liam Daish in 2015.
Kevin Wilson led them to sixth in National League North a year later, just missing out on the play-offs by a point. But after finishing 12th and 13th in successive seasons, this term they have won just twice in 14 league games under new manager Nicky Eaden.
They are currently three points and one place off the bottom of the table and, although their 10-year-old Liberty Way ground is now owned by Port Vale owner Norman Smurthwaite, Hawkins has plans to put the club right both on and off the park.
"Certain things need to be improved," he said. "Norman owns the ground and, as it stands now, he's not going to improve it any way.
"So we're working tirelessly to make it a better environment, an investment into the stadium which will visually benefit us and make sure the players have got dressing rooms to be proud of.
"I'm not going to accept the condition it is in at the moment and I wouldn't expect players to either, ours or the opposition's.
"We need the club to be running at a sustainable level and for us to be competing on the pitch too."
Who is Nick Hawkins?
- Began his football career with Nottingham Forest, before going on to play non-league football at various clubs further down the pyramid: Goole AFC, Shepshed Dynamo, Hucknall Town, Gresley Rovers, Long Eaton United, Dunkirk and Leicester Road, for whom he is still playing this season.
- Enjoyed his biggest notoriety as a player in 2007-08 at Chasetown, with whom he beat Team Bath and Port Vale (after a replay) to reach the third round of the FA Cup, in which they briefly led against Cardiff City before being beaten 3-1.
- Briefly managed Eastwood Town and Nuneaton's neighbours Bedworth United.
- "I've had a good time as a player and then had a dabble in management, which is the hardest job in football. Now, to put the final cream on the cake, I've got a chance to guide and drive an exciting project and it's one that I'm looking forward to," he says.
- Boro's first game under Hawkins' control will be this Saturday's home derby with neighbours Leamington, followed by a trip to Chester next Tuesday.