The Mitchell family of Dorset
Posted by John Beech on July 14, 2009
Down in Bournemouth (League 2), things look at last to be on the up. Recently a consortium led by Adam Murry bought the club, ending a long period of uncertainty when Paul Baker was trying with increasing desperation. New Chairman, it was announced on 22 June, is one Eddie Mitchell, and the new board of directors includes Mitchell’s brother-in-law Neill Blake (1).
One possible impediment to this set-up was the fact that Eddie Mitchell was better known locally as the owner of nearby Dorchester Town. Mitchell had acquired the majority share-holding in Dorchester Town as recently as the summer of 2007, but had announced his intention to bid for Bournemouth within a week of that club going into Administration in February 2008 (2).
This move to Bournemouth was clearly a matter for concern at Dorchester, where an annual loss of £276,711 had been announced on 18 June, and a debt of £203,130 to Mitchell’s property company Seven Developments was declared (3).
On 23 June, Mitchell said of Dorchester Town “I’m still committed and I’ve every intention of remaining committed” (4). Quite how this could be was not at the time made clear.
However, yesterday The Mirror broke an interesting story – Eddie had handed ownership of Dorchester Town over to his two sons, Tom (aged 21) and Josh (aged 18) (5). As Josh put it “We used to play Football Manager on PCs in our shed at home, now we are playing it for real – it is completely bizarre”.
Tom, who plays for Dorchester Town, clarified today how things would be run: “It is an exciting development but although the club will now be in mine and my brother’s name my main interest is still playing football. I have enjoyed my time here over the past year and a half and I do not want it to be any different so I am just focusing on the season ahead and continuing to push myself in terms of trying to cement a first-team place. As for the other side of it, it will be Josh who will be more involved in the boardroom than me. I won’t do much on that side at all” (6). Bizarre is certainly the word, although Dorchester Town fans can be assured that Josh is not entirely without experience – Eddie points out that “he has worked on the car park at the club for the best part of nine months and has also done quite a bit of stewarding”.
Shuffling ownership around the family has of course been in the news recently with the Vaughans of Chester City (7). Is the FA happy with these developments? Will they intervene? I’m not holding my breath.