Huddersfield Town owner Kevin Nagle believes he is close to sealing a deal to take control of the John Smith’s Stadium.

Kirklees Council wants to pull out of ownership of the stadium and has left it to Town chairman Kevin Nagle and Huddersfield Giants owner Ken Davy to agree a way forward.

The stadium is owned by Kirklees Council (40%), Huddersfield Town (40%) and Huddersfield Giants (20%) through Kirklees Stadium Development Ltd (KSDL).

The council is believed to have loaned KSDL millions of pounds but now wants to end its involvement in the ageing stadium.

It is thought the council could write off the loans as part of any deal going forward. The council has also been keen on a plot of development land – the former gasworks car park site – off Gasworks Street which it has previously tried to secure as part of a stadium handover.

The council, which will retain the freehold to the land on which the stadium is built, says only Town or the Giants – or both in partnership together – can run the stadium going forward.

They have left Mr Nagle and Mr Davy to negotiate and this week Mr Nagle revealed he was in “heavy negotiations” and hoped for a successful outcome in the next couple of weeks.


Image by: Virtual Huddersfield


Speaking on his video diary on X, Mr Nagle said: “We are working on a counter proposal to Mr Ken Davy, who owns the Huddersfield Giants, and he will be receiving the latest proposal from me. I feel we are really close.

“I think there’s three or four points and I hope to have a deal. Ken’s been really great to deal with so far and I feel we’re going to get over the finish line maybe in the next week or two. I feel that.

“I hope I’m not jinxing myself but the reality of this is negotiations are going fluid.”

The stadium is 30 years old this year and needs around £10 million in repairs and maintenance. Mr Nagle has already said he is prepared to invest in the stadium whether he secures control or not.

The stadium was originally created to be owned and run as a ‘community asset’, separate from both sports clubs.

Mr Nagle has said he too sees the stadium as a community asset, which he wants to develop.

“We want to celebrate it,” he said. “We will try to move and make the John Smith’s Stadium – or whatever it may be called in future because we will want to make a change on that – we will make it one of the centres – if not THE centre – of Huddersfield.

“We plan to have a lot of changes that go on there and I am excited by that. We have a lot of them designed right now.

“We are just trying to figure out in what order because we are up against the clock because the Giants are playing for the next six weeks or two months so we have got to make sure we’re ready.”



Mr Nagle has hinted at a change in naming rights for the stadium. When it opened in 1994 it was the McAlpine Stadium, named after the construction firm that built it.

It then became the Galpharm Stadium in 2004. Pharmaceutical company Galpharm was the business set up by entrepreneur Graham Leslie CBE, a former Town chairman and the driving force behind the new stadium vision in the late 80s and early 90s.

In 2012 brewing giant Heineken took on the naming rights and the stadium became the John Smith’s Stadium.

Heineken signed a five-year deal until 2021 but it’s not known what agreement has been in place since. Heineken was asked to comment but did not provide a response.

Mr Nagle says the stadium has untapped potential as an events venue. He has also spoken about wanting more big name music concerts at the stadium.

Why a former gasworks site holds the key to the future of the John Smith’s Stadium