A Yeovil building company owner hit out yesterday, stating Yeovil Town fans got what they asked for regarding its ownership.
Rows and disappointment rumble on in the town of Yeovil between supporters of Yeovil Town Football Club between supporters.
Once famous for its exploits in the FA Cup, the cash strapped West Country club, becoming known as giant-killers after a run in the football league, now lie in the National league finishing this season in lowly 16th position.
The small market town based football club achieved a small miracle in footballing terms by reaching the dizzy heights of the Championship league under the guidance of manager Gary Johnson, which saw its supporters having dreams realised.
Although dreams were soon dashed after the bubble burst and the club sacked the manager and descended in quick succession all the way back out the league, returning to non-league football.
Fans at the time blamed the then owners for not spending enough money and investing into the playing side to stay in the league.
As fans called as they did for the managers sacking, then turned their focus on the then owners of Norman Hayward and John Fry.
Supporters still believe that the then owners were only interested in the football club’s land, which they failed to obtain planning permission on several occasions.
The fans even went as far as setting up a supporters trust to oppose opposition to its club board and dream of taking some ownership of the club, like a minority of other cash strapped clubs.
Although, after constant pressure from the fans, the board finally relented and listened to offers for the club.
The supporters’ trust with only a small membership was not in a position to purchase the club.
A bid from an American consortium fell through after a better prospect came forward in Wycombe Wanderers, deemed as a safer investment.
The consortium purchased the High Wycombe club via Feliciana EFL Ltd, owning 75% of the club, with their supporters trust owning a 25% shareholding.
Yeovil Town fans, though, blamed the then clubs owners and directors for the purchase deal falling through.
Wycombe themselves, after the purchase, moved on and reached the Championship before being relegated this season.
Meanwhile, back at Yeovil Town, under pressure constantly from supporters to sell and leave, Hayward and Fry finally sold the club to a pair of unknowns in footballing circles and a track record of dissolved companies at Companies House.
That track of non-success has continued at Yeovil Town under Chairman Scott Priestnall, who is co-owner with an Errol Pope.
The club now financially strapped for cash, releasing players in numbers to get them off the payroll and looking highly likely to be selling its ground and land to South Somerset County Council, has seen the pair fall from grace with supporters, who were only more than welcoming just over a year and a half ago.
Preistnall, who appeared to enjoy the limelight as he schmoozed the supporters at first and hasn’t been heard of for months yesterday, had his birthday, to which fans of the club asked who would be sending him a birthday message on when of their many fans forums.
Die-hard and lifelong fan Mark Kelly asked a simple question mocking the elusive current owner: “Anyone got a birthday message for our owner?”
Whilst the majority posted a simple reply of “Where are you?” Yeovil resident and local building company owner David Pinkett took a swipe and a reminder to fans who only a few months previous were praising Priestnall as a messiah whilst dissing the then owners.
Years ago as a young man my old man used to say be careful of what you wish for. Having wished for pussy and free beer I soon realised that pubs seldom give away a drink. How is this relevant to our Scott, well how many of you wanted GJ out and then Fry /Hayward. Admittedly the latter wasn’t perhaps as honest as they should have been, but this Cockney chancer is the result of fan pressure. Now the club has sold its only asset and one Del Boy can spend the cash on whatever he wants, yes whatever he wants!
Whilst the club hasn’t actually sold its ground and land yet, with it highly likely to proceed with the sale to the council after being held up by the supporters’ trust for 6 months, football followers across the football spectrum agree.
Football pundit, Adam Brown who presents Football With Brownie, is one of those from his Marbella base.
Millionaire Brown, who attempted to purchase his home town football club, Merthyr Town FC, but fell foul of their supporter’s trust, is due to discuss the current situation with former Yeovil legend Gavin Williams on his show later this week.
Although whilst researching for the show saw the comments of Pinkett and was in full agreement.
He said this morning: “Yeovil fans basically allowed 2 unknown owners. With no track record or proven substance cash wise to operate a successful football club right through the door and into the boardroom.
“They were that desperate to get rid of the former owners; the waffle of Priestnall blinded them.
“Now they are probably worse off than when they started calling for the heads of Hayward & Fry in truth, that fan is correct sadly in what he says, I doubt shortly the club will even own its ground or its one asset the land.
“I really pray for the Yeovil supporters that the council enter a clause that the purchase funds can only be allocated to the future of the club and not siphoned out to the current owners, which could easily happen.
“A few invoices for ‘consultancy fees’ and it could be game over, sadly that’s how it can work,” said the experienced pundit.
Brown went onto say: “I’ve seen it all before, both at Merthyr and other clubs, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Yeovil Town in administration once the ground and land has been sold.”
Whilst fans amongst themselves talk of ‘gossip’ about other consortiums being prepared to take on the club, this wasn’t evident when the club’s supporters trust prevented for a 6 month period the council from making the purchase.
In that 6 month period, offers could have been received and none came forward, despite talk of other interested parties.
An agent this afternoon, who brokers the sale of football clubs as well as taking financial investments in them, told Global247news this afternoon:
“Sadly the only time Yeovil Town will become a viable proposition for investment or purchase is from an administrator.
“Here’s a business heading that way, selling its only tangible assets to raise cash to survive.
“Nobody in their right mind would make a bid with the club’s current debts, it’s asset about to be sold and being left to rent the ground from the council, there’s nothing worth purchasing at present, for a club to run successfully, the golden rule of thumb is that 60% of revenue is required to plough into the playing squad and the other 40% for operating costs.
“Yeovil’s ground only holds just over 9,000 and it’s been years since that’s been filled to the maximum – the local area simply doesn’t have a large enough catchment area to achieve any more.
” The Club, in my opinion, has only two hopes, the trust unify and grow and prepare to pluck the club from administration or a rich supporter steps forward to be a benefactor and has enough money not to worry about losing a portion of his/her fortune.
“If there was such a benefactor I would have thought they would have stepped in before now, the only hope will be the trust route, but to do that you have to have a large enough trust and the correct steering group in charge of it, It’s all very well talking about it, making it happen is another altogether,” he said.
Whatever the outcome it’s a sad demise for the club’s supporters who were only recently praising their new owners who now that can’t get a peep from.