THE man at the centre of Rhyl Football Club’s ground dispute has been discovered.

The Journal understands that David Butters is the leaseholder at Rhyl FC, according to documents on the UK land registry.

According to archived reports, Mr Butters purchased the Educate Group Stadium in the early 1990s after the club went into liquidation during their time in the English pyramid system.

This resulted in the Belle Vue gates being locked amid plans to turn to the site into a housing development. But after a staunch protest from the Lilywhites’ fanbase, those proposals were scrapped and a lease of £8,000 per month was granted to the club with a 4% increase per season, per source.

The owner is believed to be reluctant to enter negotiations with the current Rhyl FC board to sell the ground and ease their financial burden, with the Journal discovering that their current rent fees are believed to be around £25,000 per year.

Mr Butters is being urged to at least put rent on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the club has a realistic chance of a long-term future.

With no matchday revenue incoming for the foreseeable future and the prospect of not leasing their pitch during May, the club’s debts are set to rise significantly with bills and ground rent causing major concern.

In a statement revealing the club’s financial predicament, chairman Paul Higginson said: “Following our openness and honesty in December, Adam (Roche) and myself wanted to continue being completely transparent as this is arguably the bleakest situation the club has been in for over 25 years.

“Without significant external investment or clarity on whether the national emergency funding may assist sports clubs during this unprecedented period the ability for Rhyl Football Club to resume playing duties is now seriously under threat.

“This is a situation which I’m sure many other clubs are facing. However, the nature of the ground ownership for Rhyl FC means that our problems are multiplied.”