Ex-Blues chief bids to buy into Wrexham FC

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

FORMER Chester City owner Stephen Vaughan claims he is part of a bid to buy a controlling stake in Wrexham FC.

The Liverpool-based businessman (pictured below) said yesterday  he is one of a four-man consortium that is currently putting together an offer to buy a 100 per cent controlling interest in the club.

But current club vice-chairman and part-owner Geoff Moss said he knew nothing about any such offer.

And the 650-strong Wrexham Supporters’ Trust made it clear it would not welcome the move.

Mr Vaughan took over as chairman and majority shareholder of Chester City in 2001 but following relegation to the Blue Square Premier League last year the club was finally wound up at the High Court in March over an unpaid tax bill.

He told the Leader: “Wrexham FC is up for sale and I have been approached to join the consortium that is putting in a bid for it.

“They have offered me a stake of around 30 per cent in the special purpose vehicle which has been put together to make the bid.

“The offer will be made to the club via our legal people within the next seven days.

“I would be involved strictly as an investor and would have no part in the day-to-day running of the club.”

He added: “As far as ownership is concerned we would put in the relevant funds that the club requires.

“However, it is the owners’ choice if they want to sell.”

While Mr Vaughan would not reveal who the other three members of the consortium are, he said they were all from the north of England and that “every one is a football person”.

Speaking of his past involvement with Chester City, he said: “I put nine years of my life into the club and £5 million of my own money.

“I never took a penny out. I was let down by a shower of fools who hit their own self-destruct button.”

Mr Vaughan is currently involved with boxing promotions in Liverpool and runs a residential lettings company in that area.

Geoff Moss said: “I have not had any contact with Stephen Vaughan and know nothing about an offer from any consortium he might be involved in.

“I do know him from football circles and he did approach us once before – three or four years ago – to buy the club but nothing came of it.

“The club is for sale and we have had a couple of enquiries but none, as far as I know, have been from Mr Vaughan.

“Let’s just wait and see if he does make an offer.”

Lindsay Jones, a spokesman for Wrexham Supporters’ Trust, said: “When a club is up for sale all sorts of people come forward with offers.

“The trust is aware of Mr Vaughan and we can say categorically that he would not be welcome here under any circumstances.

“Mr Moss needs to sit down with the trust and discuss a sensible exit strategy – one that puts the club first.”

Stephen Vaughan - the Chester years

2001: Stephen Vaughan takes over as owner of Chester City FC.

2004: Vaughan takes Chester City FC to victory in the Football Conference.

2007: Vaughan stands down as Chester City FC chairman but remains the majority shareholder in the club which began to run into financial problems.

May 2009: Chester City FC goes into administration.

April 2009: A sale was announced to Gary Metcalf, a Liverpool-based businessman, though ownership of the club was eventually transferred to Stephen Vaughan Jnr, Vaughan’s son, in April 2009.

November 2009: Chester continued to experience financial difficulties and Stephen Vaughan Snr was disqualified from acting as a director of any company for a period of 11 years following his alleged involvement in a £500,000 VAT fraud whilst director of Widnes Vikings.

The club’s financial difficulties coincided with on-the-pitch struggles. Chester were relegated from the Football League at the end of the 2008-09 season. They were initially barred from competing in the 2009-10 season due to a complaint by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs over the manner in which the club had been placed into and then left administration, but the club was eventually given FA affiliation.

February 2010: Chester City were unable to fulfil their fixtures due to failures to pay police, coach drivers and players, and the club was suspended from the Football Conference pending a vote on their ejection to be held on Friday, February 26. The decision was made to expel Chester City from the Football Conference and following a court order on March 10 the club’s 125 year history came to an end.

May 2010: The club was resurrected under the control of the fans.

See full story in the Leader

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