CHESHIRE Jets have been saved after Chester businessman Haydn Cook completed negotiations to take over the basketball club from director Pete Hawkins.
Just five weeks after Hawkins openly put the Jets on the market sparking fears over the club's future in the BBL Championship The Chronicle can exclusively reveal that Cook, who is in the property business, will become the new owner and is planning to put out a competitive side for the September 23 opener against Manchester Giants.
In a statement this afternoon Cook said: "I am honoured to be entrusted with leading the Cheshire Jets. I took my now grown up children to games at Northgate many years ago and am a long term supporter.
"When I saw the Chronicle campaign and realised Peter was stepping down after five years I felt it was important for the region that the Jets continued in the BBL and felt that I had skills and experiences which could take the team forward. I don’t underestimate the challenges ahead, both in the short term in preparation for our first game and for the long term, but I know with the continued support of the best volunteers and fans in the league we can make it a success.
"‘Now the real work begins, I have been overwhelmed by the offers of support from the local community. In answer to everyone’s question what can I do to help there are two things, firstly if you run or know of a local business who would like to be with us at the start of this journey then we would love to hear from you, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Secondly season tickets are now on sale, our first game is just over two weeks away against Manchester Giants, let’s see if we can fill Northgate and make it a very special night in Jets history."
Now former Jets owner Hawkins, who was involved in the Jets rescue five years ago when they last faced a crisis, added: "‘I am delighted that Haydn has come forward, we have been in intense discussions with a number of people and Haydn was, in my view, the best person to take over.
"The Jets are a huge asset in the region and I am confident Haydn can take the team onto the next level. I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been involved with The Jets over the last five years of my tenure, in particular to the huge band of volunteers without whom there would have been no club.
"Any organisation needs someone to be accountable for leading it and in the case of the Jets, Haydn has my utmost respect in being willing to do that and I know everyone will get behind him to ensure it is a success.”
The Jets new ownership are still engaged in talks to finalise the plans for a new arena in Ellesmere Port to replace the Northgate Arena.