Stephen Boler is set to become the biggest single shareholder in Manchester City following the rights issue announced at the 1996 Annual General Meeting, which he is underwriting in conjunction with John Wardle Associates. His current 15% share in the club will rise to around 50% though he has stated on numerous occasions that he has no wish to become involved in the day to day running of the club.
Boler was born in Middleton and brought up in Saddleworth. His father owned a garage so it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that his first venture into business in the mid sixties involved tyres. He subsequently moved into engineering, distribution and then kitchens. He had a major failure in the early eighties with Kitchen Queen and Wharf Mill but things have gone well since then; his kitchens and bedrooms company The Limelight Group was floated on the stock exchange for £175 million in 1996 and Boler's share of that was worth around £60 million.
His hobbies include gardening; the garden of his home in Cheshire supplies vegetables to the kitchens of the nearby Mere Golf and Country Club which he owns. He also owns 6,000 acres of arable land in Warwickshire and 750 square Kilometres of game reserve on the edge of the Kalahari Desert, a venture which kept him occupied for three years upto 1996.
Boler is a long-time City fan and became involved in the club through his friendship with City's late former Chairman Peter Swales. They each owned around 30% of the club until Swales was ousted by Francis Lee in February 1994. Swales and Boler both sold half of their shareholdings to Lee. Boler's distaste for the way in which Swales was treated has kept him away from most of City's games since then.
Paul Howarth, email@example.com