WREXHAM FC is to be sold to Jon Harris with financial backing from businessman Colin Poole, it was announced today.
A statement posted on the club's official website reads in full:
"CURRENT owners Geoff Moss and Ian Roberts today announce that they have agreed to sell their interest in Wrexham FC to Jon Harris who will assume the role of Managing Director of the club with immediate effect.
Geoff Moss confirmed that he had received three formal bids for the club, but that the bid made by Mr Harris was the best for the long term future of the club.
He applauded the professional approach shown by the representatives of the Wrexham Supporters Trust many fans favourite bidders.
Mr Moss indicated that it would have been the easiest option to accept the Trusts bid and accepted that in not doing so he may come in for criticism from some quarters, but in truth the Trust were unable to provide satisfactory comfort both in terms of their financial ability to fund the clubs operations in the medium to long term and their experience in running a professional football club.
Their enthusiasm and dedication is beyond reproach but the truth is that the people who run the Trust all have their own full time jobs and the club needs strong experienced leadership now.
Geoff also thanked Stephen Cleeve for his interest but indicated that there were some technical and legal issues with the proposals put forward by Stephen which could not be overcome easily. Geoff expressed the wish that Stephen accept the offer of Jon Harris and agrees to work with him for the benefit of the club.
This transaction provides the club with financial stability for the future whilst also retaining its control of both Colliers Park and the Racecourse ground.
There have been many rumours circulating that in the event that Jon Harris was successful in his bid that the Racecourse Ground or Colliers Park would be sold off or redeveloped, but Mr Harris has confirmed that this is not the case. Moreover, Mr Harris has confirmed that he will ensure that the mechanisms are put in place publically to ensure that the club's assets are retained by the club for the club.
Jon Harris has the experience and expertise to ensure that the club is run professionally off the field and has secured the financial backing of businessman Colin Poole. Again over the last few weeks much has been said about Mr Poole's previous business dealings and it is a fact that he has provided an undertaking to the DTI not to act as a Director of a business.
That being said Mr Poole is an extremely successful businessman, who was one of the youngest Chief Executive Officers of a FTSE 250 company, won CBI business of the year award and helped grow a company from nothing to a value of £750m. The events that led to Mr Poole's undertaking occurred over 10 years ago and the issues were technical in nature and any actions taken by him were only taken following professional advice.
Jon Harris confirmed: "I initially contacted Colin some weeks ago when it became clear that the club was in serious financial difficulties he indicated that he would be happy to help and despite some of the quite nasty personal comments made about him by ill informed individuals he remains committed to helping me and the club move forward. I welcome his help and would ask all supporters to give us all a chance to prove our commitment to the future of the club".
The club are also delighted to announce that manager Dean Saunders has committed his future to the club by agreeing a new contract and whilst there will need to be a period of financial prudence Dean has confirmed that the budget for players next year will ensure that the club will remain competitive in the conference.
Commenting on today's announcement Dean Saunders said: "It is true that the club has experienced significant financial difficulties which have been well publicised. That said I am hopeful of retaining the nucleus of this seasons squad and provided the fans and community get behind us we may even be able to add one or two new faces to the team.
" Realistically next season there will still be some clubs in the division with larger playing budgets than ours. That being said if everyone involved with Wrexham pull together you never know what might be achieved.
"I have met with Jon Harris and Colin Poole and am convinced that the club is in safe hands. They are both very experienced and have a good understanding of football and what it takes to run a successful club. Other opportunities may have been available to me but I want to stay and finish the job I started here having received the assurances and comfort that the club can meet my expectations there really was no decision to make."
When questioned about the future of the Centre of Excellence Mr Harris confirmed his commitment to keeping the centre open if at all possible, he said: " Geoff has been working very hard behind the scenes over the last few weeks to secure additional income streams that will cover the cost of this valuable club and community asset. We are very close to finalising arrangements which will see the centres future being secured without continuing to be a drain on the clubs resources whilst keeping the Centre in the Club's ownership."
Jon Harris when asked the direct question also confirmed that he has no links with Mr Vaughan the former chairman of Chester and that he is in no way whatsoever involved in Jon's bid.
He has also repeated his offer to the Wrexham Supporter Trust to acquire shares in the new club and to accept a seat on the Board. The Trust was established with the goals of securing a 25.1% stake in the club and representation on the Board.
Whilst they will no doubt be disappointed that their own bid has been unsuccessful the opportunity to achieve those stated goals remains and Mr Harris hopes that the Trust will seize that opportunity and help him shape the future of the club.
Mr Harris has also indicated that he is willing to talk to other parties interested in acquiring shares in the club and/or board level representation provided those individuals or bodies have the best interests of the club at heart.
He also confirmed that the local authority had been very positive and were keen to work with the new administration to secure the future of the Racecourse ground and the club for the benefit of the football club and wider community.
In a rallying call to all supporters Jon Harris stated:
"We all know that the club is in a false position and it will take time to restore it to its former position but this club has Championship potential and if we all now put the past few weeks behind us and work together we can all look forward to a much brighter future on and off the field.""
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