Confusion at the County Ground as Seebeck 87 aim to put three new directors on Town board (From Swindon Advertiser)
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SWINDON TOWN: Town's former holding company aim to appoint three new club board members
THE holding company which acquired Swindon Town in January 2013 is trying to appoint three new faces to the club’s board, sparking renewed questions about the ownership of the Robins.
The Advertiser understands Seebeck 87 Ltd, which took on former majority shareholder Andrew Black’s stake in the club at the start of last year, intends to put Debbie Priestnall, Adam Fynn and David Smith in place at the County Ground, suggesting Seebeck believes it still retains a controlling interest in the Wiltshire outfit.
Fynn is chief executive of The Anderson Group, a Luton-based firm which, according to blurb on its website, is “the UK’s leading provider of professional services to the recruitment and contracting sector”.
The 29-year-old, who is also heavily involved in nightclubs, is believed to be seen as a potential investor in Town and, according to public records, holds a 45 per cent shareholding in Seebeck 87.
Smith is Fynn’s financial officer at The Anderson Group. The 43-year-old is a partner at chartered accounting firm Cottons in Northampton.
Priestnall is in the entertainment industry and current sits on the boards of Mange Tout Management Company Ltd, Talent Artistic Ltd and City Entertainment Folkestone 1 Limited.
The trio were all appointed as directors of Seebeck 87 on April 1. Two days later the company had a proposal to be struck off the companies register rescinded after providing just cause to remain in operation, despite being used exclusively for the takeover of Swindon Town last year.
Priestnall, Fynn and Steve Murrall - the ex-Town general manager - were all seen by the Advertiser at the County Ground yesterday. Smith is also understood to have been present, but neither of Swindon’s current directors, Lee Power and Sangita Shah, are believed to have been in attendance.
Current chairman Power said back in December, when he assumed control of the club, that he had exercised an option allowing him to take the majority shareholding in the Robins. He had previously paid out a sum of £300,000 to individuals involved with Town to do so. At that point he projected he would invest around £1.2million into the club this season.
On December 3, the same day Jed McCrory stood down from the Swindon board, Power released a statement, part of which read: “I am delighted to officially announce that I am the new owner of Swindon Town Football Club.
"Firstly, I’d like to try and alleviate some of the fans’ concerns. To put the record straight, here are the facts: I paid £300,000 to buy out individuals who had shares in the Club and this gave me an option to take control of the Club, which I have now exercised.
"I put in £1.2 million to get the embargo lifted last season which I withdrew once the Football League had been satisfied.
“The financial forecasts I was given at the time were unfortunately drastically inaccurate and the Club has needed more financial input than I originally thought.
“For example: there was £500,000 of estimated income in the accounts for the summer concerts which, to date, has cost the football club circa £50,000.
“To date, I have put £740,000 into the Club this season and expect to put in another £400,000 before the end of the season.”
Prior to his resignation, McCrory had initially claimed that he still held the controlling stake in Town.
However, a club statement of December 3 said the ownership of the Robins had transferred to Power’s holding company, Swinton Reds 20 - of which he and accountant Steve Crouch are the only directors.
“STFC are pleased to announce the change of ownership of STFC to Swinton Reds 20 owned by Director of Football, Mr Lee Power,” the statement read.
“The change of ownership signals no fundamental changes in the Club but has been executed post the completion of the audit in line with the intent of the consortium led by Mr Jed McCrory who acquired STFC.
“Since the takeover Mr Power has injected £1.2m for a limited period of time to release the embargo enforced by the Football League at the time of takeover.
“Since then he has provided the entire funding to ensure the financial ongoing probity of the Club.
“Mr Power has also furnished the Football League with further proof of funds to underwrite the future liquidity of the Club.
“STFC would like to thank The Football League for its assistance to date.”
A spokesman for the Seebeck 87 Ltd board declined to comment when approached by the Advertiser last night, while neither Power nor Shah were reachable when contacted by this paper.
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