Poole Pirates have smashed their transfer record to seal the signing of World Under-21 champion Darcy Ward.
The 17-year-old was the most sought after rider in Britain, with almost every Elite League club expressing an interest in signing him.
But now Poole have concluded a deal with his Premier League club King's Lynn Stars.and promoter Matt Ford has paid more than £28,000 - which he paid for World Champion Jason Crump in 2007.
Now Poole, who are still licking their wounds after a dreadful 2009 campaign, are looking assemble a side again capable of challenging for the title.
"It's hard to explain to people just how good Darcy is. In football terms, Manchester United paid £12 million for Cristiano Ronaldo and I hadn't heard of him," Ford told the Daily Echo.
"Darcy wasn't cheap either, but, like Ronaldo, I know what he will do for this club. It's a Poole transfer record, although I won't disclose the figure.
"It shows how important this kid is, and can be, for the next 15 years. King's Lynn were extremely easy to deal with and I'd like to thank Jonathan Chapman."
Ford confirmed that current Poole star Chris Holder played a major part in taking Ward to Wimborne Road.
"It came out of the blue three weeks ago when Chris Holder told me Darcy wanted to come to Poole. It snowballed from there," he said.
"Chris was the deal clincher. He and Darcy are very good friends off the track and live life at 100 miles per hour.
"I can see the Holder and Ward show leading Pirates for the next umpteen years.
"We beat off much richer clubs than ourselves to sign him and I just hope that this makes up for the poor season this year with the fans.
"I hope they will come out and support Poole Speedway because this is the signing we all wanted and we've invested heavily in this.
"It's an early Christmas present for everyone."
Poole have now confirmed three signings for next season with Ward, joining Chris Holder and Leon Madsen.
Original story from SKY sports See the article here