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Nuneaton Town Supporters Co-operative’s bid to take over club still on the table

An attempt by the Nuneaton Town Supporters Co-operative (NTSC) to buy out the club is still on the table for chairman Lee Thorn to consider.

Thorn put the club up for sale last month after announcing he would be standing down from his role.

The NTSC said in early May a number of not-yet-named firms had come forward to find out their plans to form a consortium.

A special meeting was scheduled for Monday with members set to meet face-to-face with the interested parties to try and find a way forward, but a deal with local businesses could not be agreed.

Therefore, ‘plan b’ has been initiated which will see the NTSC aim to takeover the club themselves.

However, Thorn appears to be reluctant to sell the club to them. In a statement, he said: “The Coop have shown, for a second time under my four-year tenure, that they are not able to take over the running of the club either.”

He continued: “Now it is clear they cannot table a serious bid, I must move on, as does the club. Other offers have been tabled which we hope to progress now that a line can be drawn, once again, under the Coop’s ambitions.”

The NTSC insist they can put forward a suitable offer and responded: “We read with interest Lee Thorn’s statement regarding the sale of the club and his interaction with the Cooperative.

“There were a number of inaccuracies in it, we could point them out, but rather than drag the club further through the mire,  we will do the following.

“On Tuesday, following our meeting, we emailed Lee stating that we would; ‘need in writing what the debts at the club currently area, what we would be taking on, what would be written off and who would be liable for maintenance of the facilities at the ground.

“‘To do this, no doubt you would want an NDA in place and meeting with us and Supporters’ Direct is the way that we would do this as they are the organisation that can help us through the purchase…

“‘…We can still negotiate a deal where we take on this football club, however, we need you to cooperate with the process.’

“That offer still stands. It will not be withdrawn at any point.”

Thorn says it is “not his intention to re-enter the club” with Nuneaton needing to complete one permutation to continue competing in the National League North. A new owner must be found “so that work required to start the new season can commence”.

Thorn’s full statement on the club website, read: “Late on Monday night I was informed that the Nuneaton Town Supporters Cooperative were not able to put together any offer for the football club and its Liberty Way home.

“I was very disappointed to hear this as I really wanted them to take over and make it a community and fan run club.

“Two options were presented to the Coop:
“Option 1 to buy the club and stadium at a figure supplied to them.

“Option 2 to rent the stadium on a long-term lease which satisfied the competition criteria, based on an, under market value, rental figure (this option included taking over the clubs trading debts).

“At no stage was any financial information requested by the Coop regarding the running costs, trading debts, or any other costs involved in taking on a club of our standing.

“The last few weeks have also proven that there is not a group of local businessmen waiting in the wings to invest in this club. They have had a chance to come forward and talk to me, yet none have taken it.

“The Coop have shown, for a second time under my four-year tenure, that they are not able to take over the running of the club either.

“Since taking over at the club I have had to fight battle after battle to keep the club going. People inside the club have tried to sabotage it, people outside have tried to undermine it and people who want to cause the club to fail have tried to turn the town, and Boro fans, against the club for their own ends.

“I have fought hard for over the past four seasons for a club that I have grown to love, but it has taken a toll and I’m now tired of the fight.

“I told members of the Coop about my intention to step down as Chairman and sell the club prior to my planned announcement. I did this to allow them time to prepare and plan, so they could spring into action when the announcement came.

“I also informed them that the application to change the club name, back to Borough, had been successful and when I had planned to announce it.

“However, the Coop, for their own reasons announced those two things the day before I was going to, which made any statement from the club pointless.

“This meant our contracted players, employed staff, sponsors and fans found out from the Coop, rather than officially from the club, this alone created a huge amount of turmoil and uncertainty.

“This action has damaged relationships between the club and some sponsors, maybe irreversibly, and could cost the club thousands of pounds in lost sponsorship.

“Prior to this I had not spoken to anyone about sponsorship for the coming season because I wanted to give the Coop a clean slate and a chance to earn as much money as possible upon taking over.

“I had also not set season ticket and admission prices, as I wanted the Coop to be able to set the prices they wanted, if they were to take over.

“Now it is clear they cannot table a serious bid, I must move on, as does the club. Other offers have been tabled which we hope to progress now that a line can be drawn, once again, under the Coop’s ambitions.

“The club must meet certain conditions to fulfil our licence to compete in the competition. We had three things to tick off to enable this to happen, we now have one item outstanding.

“It is not my intention, at this time, to re-enter the club, and I hope that a new owner is found as soon as possible, so that the work required to start the new season can commence.”

 

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