THE battle for the future of Wrexham FC took dramatic twists last night as two parties emerged in a bid to run the club.
Prospective saviour Stephanie Booth hailed as “very amicable” crucial opening talks she held with current Wrexham owner Geoff Moss and chairman Ian Roberts that could pave the way for her fans’ consortium to perform a takeover at the Racecourse ground.
“I have been very encouraged by the meeting with Geoff and Ian,” she said shortly after talks concluded.
“I wanted to ascertain the owners were willing to do a deal and it definitely appears that they are.”
In another major development Mrs Booth revealed members of the Wrexham Supporters’ Trust had opted against joining her takeover campaign and would pursue plans to make their own bid for the club.
Speaking minutes after concluding talks with trust representatives, she said: “Against our advice they have decided to go it alone. We wish them well in their bid but this will not affect our own bid.
“We still intend to fully involve the fans in the running of the club.”
Trust members are understood to be meeting with Mr Moss and Mr Roberts next week to present their own bid.
Mrs Booth says Cllr Phil Wynn is joining her in the takeover attempt and she wishes to see multiple parties involved in the community-based club.
She is also planning to meet the club’s management and players, Wrexham Council officials and organisations including HMRC and the Blue Square Bet Premier League as the takeover process gathers momentum.
The millionaire hotelier pledged that once she has assessed Wrexham FC’s assets and liabilities she will “tell the world”. And she said no club director or shareholder should expect to gain financially from their involvement with the club, declaring the club would operate with total transparency.
Mrs Booth added: “I would expect the Welsh Assembly Government and Wrexham Council to be involved as Wrexham is the only team in North Wales with a large stadium.
“Fans need to buy into their dream both financially and by their support at matches – individually and via groups such as Wrexham Supporters Trust.
“The more widely shares are distributed the less likely it is any one group could exploit the club or its assets. The fans must have representation on the board.”
Adopting a mantra that the club needs a winning team both on and off the field, she added: “If it operated as a charitable institution then investments by fans would qualify under the Government’s Gift Aid scheme, which would add 28p to every pound donated.
“Although employed staff have to be paid, no director or shareholder should expect financial reward and income generated by catering or tickets sales needs to be kept in the club to guarantee its long term viability.
“This will ensure anyone involved is a true supporter and donates their time and/or money for the right reasons.”
Mrs Booth said the club would look to send out a weekly email newsletter, maintain communication through Facebook and Twitter, and undertake surveys.
“As a business we need constant feedback to ensure we are meeting the demands and expectations of the supporters,” she said.
Mrs Booth stresses manager Dean Saunders and the players are doing a good job on the pitch and feels it important to let them know the town was proud of them.
She said she could not give any indication on the likely timescale before any takeover would be completed as the due diligence process would be in the hands of lawyers.
Mr Moss and Lindsay Jones, Wrexham Supporters’ Trust chairman, were unavailable for comment last night.
The involvement of Stephanie Booth has fired the enthusiasm of supporters on fans’ website Red Passion.
‘BillTheRed’: “Saying all the right things, will just have to wait and see what comes out of her talks.”
‘Alex red 4 life’: “She seems really down to earth, the more I hear from her, the more I think she is the person to take the club forward with the Wrexham
Supporters Trust and Wrexham Council on board.”
‘Waynesworld’: “This will be the bid that gets my full backing with the trust on board as well hopefully.”
‘Rk11’: “She has my support. It’s refreshing to have someone wanting to get involved with the fans. She won’t know how to run a football club but will employ the right people.”
See full story in the Leader