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SWINDON TOWN: Unpaid fee stalls Town takeover
THE sale of Swindon Town was unable to be completed yesterday as members of the incoming board tried to resolve an issue revolving around unpaid fees for a loan player, the Advertiser understands.
The prospective new owners of the Robins, fronted by Jed McCrory, had hoped to receive formal approval from the Football League after impressing the authorities with their financial model for the club in a meeting in Preston last week, passing all the relevant fit and proper persons tests and securing proof of funds.
However, the saga will drag out for at least another 24 hours after it emerged that outstanding money is owed to an unnamed club for a player’s services earlier this season. The identity of the player in question remains unclear.
McCrory & Co will be hoping for a swift resolution to the matter at hand, as until it is sorted Swindon are unlikely to be allowed to register new players.
Town have already missed out on Bradley Wright-Phillips, who has joined Brentford as predicted in the Advertiser yesterday, while Danny Green is wanted by MK Dons and is not expected to move to Wiltshire.
Marlon Pack of Cheltenham remains a target but in the wake of Paolo Di Canio’s resignation the Adver has learnt that any potential switch to the County Ground is almost dead.
Meanwhile, Trust STFC chairman John Ward has called for the club to learn from the events of the past few weeks, culminating in Di Canio’s departure, as they build for the future.
He said: “I think from a Trust point of view the big question is ‘why did it all go wrong?’ “Five years ago a brand new consortium took over the club and rescued us from dreadful financial difficulties. They were a group of business people of integrity, real business sense and money, at least two of them knew about football and it looked like everything was set fair.
“There was a relegation and Andrew Fitton took that personally and felt he had to resign but Jeremy Wray replaced him and, with Nick Watkins, made this inspired managerial appointment.
“The difficult, it seems to me, is very high maintenance. He needs to have somebody as chairman or someone on the board of directors – that important – who will give him constant support and tender loving care.
“Jeremy was doing that and then it seems there was a bust-up which meant Jeremy was removed, so I think the first lesson to be learned is that if you have a manager like Paolo you need a board which is not going to cave in to all his demands but will make him feel important.
“I think that is what went wrong.”
Ward is keen for his organisation to develop a strong and positive relationship with the incoming board.
He said: “What I want to do with the new owners if they are agreeable, and I am told they will be, is to set up a structured relationship and a formal dialogue between representatives of supporters and the new owners of the board.
“We can then make representations on behalf of supporters and we can also relay to supporters what the board is up to in a way which will carry conviction.”