EXCLUSIVE: Ex-Chester boss confirms Reds buy-out bid

Reporter:

Garth ApThomas

CONTROVERSIAL businessman Stephen Vaughan has revealed he was part of the consortium poised to take over at Wrexham FC.

And Mr Vaughan has said if no alternative buyer is found by the club’s current owners, he and his investment colleagues could be prepared to come back to the negotiating table.

The last few weeks have been a bewildering whirlwind for followers of the football club.

First came the announcement that the owners were looking to sell up to a company called Van Morton Investments.

A deal was said to have been agreed to sell Wrexham FC “as soon as possible”, with The Racecourse and club training ground to follow.

But that was followed by the news that Van Morton had pulled out of any proposed buy-out.

A press release was issued blaming adverse publicity for the takeover not going ahead.

In an interview with the Leader about the affair, Mr Vaughan, a former owner of Chester City, said: “I was part of a consortium which included former Premier League footballers and a cosmetics retail magnate.

“That was the reason for going the overseas route with the company and retaining anonymity – they didn’t want their business interests revealed.

“The new Wrexham chairman, Robert Bickerton, has been criticised by some people for saying he didn’t know who we were, but he was telling the truth.

“I am a stakeholder in Van Morton Investments, but if the proposed purchase had gone ahead I wouldn’t have been part of the day to day running of the club.

“It is well documented what went on with Chester City and myself. That was a bad experience.

“I have had enough of running a football club and the headaches that come with it.”

He added: “If Wrexham do find another buyer then that is fair enough and I wish
them well.

“But if there is no other potential purchaser we could still be interested in an agreement.”

Mr Vaughan said Wrexham had fitted the investors’ requirements of currently being a non-league club which had the potential to get back into the Football League and earn further promotion.

- Wrexham will be featured on Premier Sports TV on February 22 when they travel to play AFC Wimbledon.

The game is a rearranged fixture from early December, which had been postponed due to heavy snow.

Premier Sports TV is available on Sky, channel 433.

- THE Wrexham Supporters Trust (WST) has defended itself against criticisms made by the owners of Wrexham FC.

On Friday a statement on the club’s website said: “We consider some comments made on behalf of the WST regarding current issues to be completely inaccurate.”

The statement also said the Trust had been offered the opportunity to purchase the club for £1 with a further option to buy the Racecourse.

It added that a preliminary meeting had taken place but there had been no further response.

A Trust spokesman said yesterday, however: “No detail is given regarding which statements are inaccurate. We would be grateful if the owners of Wrexham Village could furnish us with details of those statements in order that we could address those concerns.”

On the matter of the proposed sale, the Trust spokesman said: “The impression given is that the owners of Wrexham FC have been keen to do a deal with the WST and we have been avoiding contact. We will not have our characters impugned in this manner.

“Following a meeting on April 9, we were not able to sit down with the owners of the club until October. At that meeting, they agreed to share the club’s financial information with our advisers. Sadly, despite numerous requests, all recorded, they have been unwilling to back up their offer.”

He added: “It is not our intention to seek conflict with the owners of Wrexham FC but we will move to protect our good name when necessary.”

The Wrexham FC statement also called on fans to back the team’s promotion push.

It said: “For those of you who urged us to sack Dean Saunders... please eat some humble pie and sing especially loud.”

It added that only banners supportive of the team would be allowed inside the ground.

See full story in the Leader

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