Darlington and Stockport County
Posted by John Beech on May 7, 2009
The lot of an Administrator is not one I envy. The primary responsibility of an Administrator is to the company’s debtors, with a proviso that that he/she should try to maintain the company as a going concern, which would normally mean its sale. In other words, the stakeholders whose interests are being protected are primarily the debtors, and to a lesser extent the staff of the company. The interests of fans are not directly a matter of consideration, and so the final outcome will rarely be to the fans’ liking.
At Darlington an interesting situation is developing. There now seems to be only one offer to buy the club, one which is on and off the table in a game of cat and mouse – the bid by Raj Singh, the club’s former Vice Chairman (1). The Administrator is certainly not obliged to accept Singh’s offer, and will not do so if accepting the offer is not in the best interests of the debtors. Singh will be pushing to maximise the amount of debt written off, while the Administrator will be pushing to minimise it. If these two positions are ultimately incompatible through behind-the-scenes negotiations, liquidation is the likely outcome.
Over at Stockport County the Administrators appointed are John Titley and Paul Reeves of insolvency experts Leonard Curtis. Leonard Curtis have shown their commitment to trying to keep the company going with this announcement last week: “We have pledged our own personal funds to ensure the vital operational payments are made to enable continuity, which currently includes payment of the transport and accommodation for the last game against Brighton on Saturday” (2). With the club’s bank account frozen, there was a serious possibility that County could not appear at Brighton and complete the season. Nice one, Leonard Curtis, that was over and above the call of duty!