More turmoil at Notts County
Posted by John Beech on February 11, 2010
With the kind of spin which even Peter Ridsdale would be proud, Chairman Peter Trembling has issued the following statement on the Notts County website (1) which begins:
“I am delighted to announce that the search for investment into this football club has concluded and last night I signed over my 90% shareholding in the club and hence the ownership to a new consortium. This consortium will reveal themselves and their plans for the Club at a press conference on Monday.
We have been on a relentless search over the last couple of months for parties intent on and able of investing £25m – £50m into Notts County. I have said all along that for relatively little investment and the capability to build thereafter, this opportunity represents one of the best, pound for pound in football. Proposed investors have concurred with that statement and have shown intent and proof of funds in their respective quests for getting involved with Notts County.“
It all sounds so wonderful that one wonders why both he and Eriksson (2) are bailing out, and especially why he sold for £1 (a price not actually mentioned in the announcement), putting the club at the same value as Salisbury City.
Might it just possibly be to do with the club’s debts, which the new owner has to take on. There’s the £325,000 bill from HMRC, currently the subject of a court adjournment until 24 February. And the bill of £95,000 due to Marstons the brewers (3). Oh, and unpaid players recently (4). Total debts are reported as being £1.5 million.
It’s worth recalling that the disastrous state of the club’s finances have emerged during a period of sheer hyperbole about heading for the Premier League under the regimes of mysterious benefactors/investors who turned out to be rather short in the green-and-readies department. This period started with the Supporters Trust selling their shares to Munto Finance. For one pound as it happens. So ‘added value’ will presumably not be a phrase to be heard from the departing owner.
The incoming owner is Ray Trew, late of Lincoln City. Having left their board over strategic differences, he was then involved with three companies who cancelled their sponsorship contracts with the club – Contract Solutions, Sports TV and Castlemaine Accountancy (5). A campaign to lower fans’ expectations has already begun (6).