SWINDON Town have new owners after the Football League formally ratified a consortium’s takeover of the club today, the Advertiser understands.
The group, fronted by Banbury United owner Jed McCrory, will provide the necessary funds to secure Town’s immediate future and prevent serious financial problems at the County Ground.
The outgoing board, that of former majority shareholder Andrew Black, had talked about the possibility of entering the club into administration had a buyer not been found in the alloted timeframe and advisors, understood to be from business rescue specialists Begbies Traynor, were put on standby to restructure the finances in SN1.
On the evening of January 29 a fax was sent out across the Football League notifying clubs that all of Swindon’s playing staff were for sale at around half their true market value and a firesale could well have resulted before the end of the transfer window but for the new owners’ involvement.
As it was, contracts were exchanged between the respective parties on January 30 and, although Matt Ritchie was sold on the same day to free up the money needed to carry Swindon through the state of flux between the old regime and the new, Town were able to hold onto the rest of their prized assets.
McCrory and a handful of potential investors watched the 1-1 draw with Hartlepool on February 9 and secured proof of funds and passed all the relevant fit and proper persons tests last week.
Given Swindon’s recent financial history - two administrations since the turn of the millenium - the Football League requested a meeting with the incoming consortium to discuss their three-year model for the club’s coffers.
McCrory & Co are understood to have impressed the authorities with their plan for the short to medium term, which is believed to have a focus on sustainability and natural growth as well as work in the community, and the final paperwork was signed off today.
Had Swindon entered administration it is understood that the League would have been likely to hit the club with a more sizeable penalty than the mandatory 10-point deduction, with demotion and even expulsion from the league a possibility.
Swindon fans need not worry about that now, however, and the transfer embargo placed on Town during the takeover saga while an issue revolving around unpaid loan fees was resolved is now understood to have been lifted.
McCrory’s board consists of ex-QPR and Brentford commercial manager Gary Hooper and Steve Murrall, an operations expert who has experience within the pharmaceutical industry.