BOTH Swinton Reds 20 Ltd and Seebeck 87 Ltd yesterday claimed to own Swindon Town Football Club, as the boardroom confusion at the County Ground intensified.
After the Advertiser revealed on Friday morning that Seebeck 87 – the holding company used to acquire former Town majority shareholder Andrew Black’s stake in the club in January 2013 – were attempting to place three new directors on the Robins’ board, Swindon released a statement suggesting that the individuals in question had no power to make resolutions.
A court hearing on April 16 in London saw Swinton Reds appeal unsuccessfully for an injunction preventing Seebeck 87 from drafting in the trio, though in their statement Swinton Red said that the three were only to be handed ‘observer’ roles.
The case will be heard by the High Court on April 29, where ownership is likely to be decided.
The initial statement released by the club on behalf of Swinton Reds read: “Following a series of legal actions against the former Chairman, Mr McCrory has attempted to appoint directors to the Club.
“On April 16th, a decision to place an injunction against the appointment of these new directors to the Club has been adjourned at the High Courts of Justice. The Court Order however has permitted the appointment of three ‘observer’ directors to the Club with no power to pass any resolutions until the Court reconvenes on April 29th.
“The ‘directors’ have not passed the Owner's and Director’s Football League’s Fit and Proper test and are temporary with no decision making powers. The Club will abide by the intention of the Court until readjournment in the High Court on the 29th April.
“The Club stands by the statements made on Dec 3rd by both Mr Power, Chairman of the Club and Mr McCrory the previous Chairman.”
In reaction to that statement, Seebeck released their own briefing to the Advertiser, in which they rejected the term ‘observer directors’, suggested the current directors of Town have ‘obstructed the intention of the court’ and claimed they were the current owners of the football club.
The statement read: "On the 1st April 2014, Seebeck 87 Ltd, the owners of Swindon Town Football Club Ltd, gave notice to the Board of Directors of Swindon Town Football Ltd, through Seebeck 87’s solicitors, that that they wished to appoint three new Directors on to the Board of the Football club, and invited the two serving directors, namely Mr Lee Power and Sangita Shah to a board meeting to be held at the ground of the Football club at 2.00pm on Thursday 17th April 2014 to ratify those appointments.
"The two serving Directors served notice on 14th April 2014 to notify Seebeck 87 Ltd that they intended to seek an injunction preventing the proposed Directors appointments.
"The High Court refused injunctive relief on 16th April to enable the owners Seebeck 87 limited to appoint three directors who will now undertake a thorough investigation of the club and its business affairs before the hearing fixed for 29th April.
"The serving board members have so far obstructed the intention of the court.
"The three new directors were refused entry yesterday (17th April 2014) to the football club, until 4.30pm.
"At 5.00pm three persons who suggested they were “security”, arrived and asked the three new directors to leave the premises.
"We note that in the press statement released from the football club this morning they acknowledge the decision of the court and suggest the three directors have been appointed as “observer” directors, a term that we do not recognise, however the three have given an undertaking not to pass any resolutions until after the 29th April.
"The serving board members have so far obstructed the intention of the court and have not made available any financial information despite being formally requested to do so. If the new directors are not provided with access to the financial records immediately they will make an urgent application to the court."
Power was present at Sixfields yesterday as Swindon beat Coventry City 2-1 thanks to a last-minute winner from Michael Smith.
Seebeck intend to appoint Adam Fynn, the CEO of The Anderson Group, and his financial officer David Smith, as well as Debbie Priestnall – the wife of former Luton Town director Martin King, who played a consultancy role to Town in the early months of Jed McCrory’s tenure- to the Robins’ board.