A FANS’ consortium is in the driver’s seat in the race to take over control of Wrexham FC - but the timing for making a deal is “critical”.
The revelation came yesterday on a day of prolonged twists and turns at Wrexham and the resignation of chairman Robert Bickerton who had been in post for less than a month.
A statement involving current owners Ian Roberts and Geoff Moss was issued which read: “Both owners have stated a desire to hand the baton on to an individual or group who will enjoy the support of the fanbase and who can develop the club in line with its true potential.
“Interest in Wrexham FC has previously been expressed by several other parties.
Messrs Moss and Roberts have confirmed that those discussions will not progress and that new ownership be sought elsewhere.
“Moss and Roberts maintain that their preferred route is to sell to a fan-based consortium. However, time is critical for any potential purchase.”
The statement was met with guarded approval from Peter Jones, vice-chairman of the Wrexham Supporters Trust, who said: “We welcome the comments. Whether a deal can be struck, we shall have to wait and see.”
South West London businessman Stephen Cleeve, one of the potential investors looking at buying the club, said he was disappointed at the announcement but Mr Cleeve stressed he was not ruling himself out of the running.
“I’ll watch this space, but time is short. It is like shifting sands, a situation which is changing all the while.
“My proposals include securing the Racecourse stadium and Collier’s Park training ground for the club, offering fans a seat on the board, making money available to strengthen the squad. I think it is a pretty good deal.”
Mr Cleeve said he has been considering taking control of a number of clubs, but Wrexham was the one he had been devoting his energy to.
“I want to do something useful. I realise this will be difficult, but it is important to have goals in life.
“I am looking to get involved in Wrexham because I am a football fan and this would give me great personal satisfaction.”
Before the fans’ consortium announcement was released Mr Cleeve said he thought he had secured an agreement in principle with Wrexham’s owners to buy the club.
As a result Mr Cleeve had been keen to press forward and check Wrexham’s books were in order as part of the process for closing a deal.
Mr Cleeve was not put off by supporters’ protests at the Racecourse on Saturday but he is frustrated at the way the sale of the club is being handled. He had been hoping to arrange a Wrexham fans forum where he could personally put forward his case for buying the club.
“I think what fans are looking for is clarity. They are upset at all the rumours and want to know what is happening,” he said.