SWINDON Town chairman Lee Power said he wanted to either sell the club or “fund it himself again”, a court heard.

The second claim, made by his barrister at the High Court on Monday afternoon, appeared to go against his position last month – when it was claimed the club was insolvent and the only option was to sell to US investors Able.

Fans had hoped that Monday's hearing before deputy High Court judge Nicholas Thompsell would result in more certainty over the ownership of the club. Rival offers have been made by US firm AC Sports Wiltshire LLC and Australian construction mogul Clem Morfuni’s company Axis.

Those hopes were dashed when the judge adjourned the case until June 15, easing a 2019 injunction to allow the sale of the club’s parent company Swinton Reds under “pre-emption rights” or to allow the sale of the club to Axis by “private treaty”. Orders banning Mr Power from placing the club into administration remain in force.

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Lee Power, chairman of Swindon Town Football Club Picture: NEWSQUEST

Colin West QC, for football agent Michael Standing – who claims to have invested millions in the club since a verbal agreement with Mr Power in 2013 to take a 50 per cent stake in the club – and Axis, said the Town chairman’s assertion he could fund it himself was directly contrary to what he said last month.

But Power’s counsel, Hannah Thornley, hit back. She said it had not been the case that Mr Power did not have the funds and quoted an earlier witness statement from the Town boss, in which he said he cared deeply about the club – but added: “As far as I am concerned I’m no longer prepared to commit further funds.”

Ms Thornley said: “His current position is that either he would wish to sell the club or alternatively aim to fund it himself again.”

The court heard that the club’s debts had gone up since the last hearing, as a result of paying last month’s wage bill, with around £3m needed to pay off all the current creditors according to Ms Thornley. Any future owner would need to settle debts of £3.2m in the director’s loan account and £2.95m-worth of debentures.

Mr Power had not drawn down any of the £300,000 offered by Axis or Mr Standing earlier this year when injunctions preventing the sale of the club or it being placed into administration. The club had been loaned £600,000 by the English Football League to help pay its wage bills.

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In his judgement on Monday afternoon, Judge Nicholas Thompsell said there would be three likely outcomes if he did nothing else but relax the 2019 injunction.

First, the current position would continue until the trial at which Michael Standing’s claim to a 50 per cent stake will be ruled on. Second, Mr Power sold his shares in line with the pre-emption rights. Third, the club was placed into administration by an external creditor.

The judge said he hoped that the third option would be “so unacceptable that common sense would prevail”.

He added: “But it is possible that it would not, given the lack of trust that there seems to be between the defendant [Mr Power] and the claimants [Axis and Mr Standing].”

Taking the club out of Mr Power’s hands was not a decision the court would take lightly, Judge Thompsell said.

He set out the matters to be covered during the next hearing in June, including whether the only way to preserve the club’s value was to order Mr Power to sell his shares.

Separately, the Football Association applied to see the documents in the court fight between Mr Standing and Mr Power.

The Association last month charged both men with breaching rules on running and owning football clubs.

The organisation has hired top sport lawyer Christopher Coltart QC to represent them. The silk has previously acted for the FA when England striker Daniel Sturridge was charged with breaching gambling rules.