Over the course of the last three to four months, Chesterfield FC secretary Ashley Carson and others have been updating me on a possible takeover of Chesterfield FC. That takeover appears to have broken down irrevocably. I am aware that there has been some distrust of the updates being provided by the Club on this subject so I have, with the assistance of the club, done some investigations to provide a third-party oversight of what has occurred.
Chesterfield FC is absolutely crucial to the health of the town and I don’t underestimate the threat that the club’s current League position poses to the success of the club and the town. Therefore, I wanted to provide clarity to fans about the history of this aborted deal.
In addition to being shown the documents that demonstrate that two offers were made (one rejected, and one, in principle accepted). I have also seen the responses from the club, and the final email concluding that the deal would not go ahead. I have also spoken to the potential buyer and got their perspective as to why the deal did not go through.
It is clear that there was an interest in buying the club by investors, that there was an agreement struck on the overall amount the club was to be sold for. It appears that there was some mutual scepticism between the buyer and the club, and that the buyer had reservations about the payment schedule being outlined, although they didn’t come back and negotiate further to alter that payment schedule, nor were the two parties very far apart on the subject of the payment schedule.
I believe that alongside the potential unease about the payment schedule, and the mutual scepticism, that the downturn in results in December which saw relegation from the Football League become more of a possibility that it looked at the time of the initial offer, was another factor that prevented the relatively small gap between the two sides to be bridged or negotiated.
There was no communication achieved between the two parties from the offer acceptance to the offer collapsing, which I think is revealing of the lack of certainty that both sides felt in the likely success of the negotiations.
I have entered into this rather unusual role of verifier of the facts of the case in order to provide clarity that fans deserve. Fans will have their own view as to how things have been handled and the wider history of how the club have fallen so far, so rapidly. From my point of view, the investigations I have made and having spoken to both sides, I think what I had been told about the negotiations over the last few months was basically true from the club’s standpoint.
There has been further speculation about alternative bidders. I am of the view that the Football Club needs to be run by people who want to be there, and thus, it is in the interests of the club to be sold as soon as practicably possible to people who have the long term health of the club at heart, but there are many more Football clubs for sale than there are people wanting and able to buy them. The club is definitely for sale.
In the meantime it falls to those who currently own it to do all they can to preserve the Club’s League status, and there have been a good number of new arrivals to try and achieve that. Whilst entirely understanding the fans desire for news, I would urge the Club to ensure that the public focus is on improving results on the pitch and that announcements about any takeover are made once things have reached a tangible stage and not before. I agree with Mr Carson that this episode has been distracting and unsettling and hope that any future negotiations that can be achieved for the good of the club can be completed, as quickly and quietly as possible.
Finally, I would say, in Football, owners, players, Managers and Directors come and go, the only constant is the fans. The Football League status of the club is one of the most crucial issues facing the town right now, and everyone uniting behind the team for the next 15 games will be absolutely vital. I know how grateful everyone at the club has been of the vocal support that the team have had in recent games, and I hope that this update provides the clarity that fans sought, I will answer any questions that I can without breaching confidences, but I believe that the pertinent facts that I am aware of are all included in this blog.