Yeovil Town Football Club who has suffered yet another relegation, this time as low as the National League South having turned down quality offers from potential purchasers prepared to save the club’s fortunes.
Now with yet another potential takeover struggling to get over the line and unlikely sources saying ‘ won’t go through’ long-standing supporters of the once famous giant-killing club have been left in disbelief as the club once again gets relegated.
Those supporters will be even more disappointed when they understand the offers declined by the club’s owner, Scott Priestnall, and its director Stuart Robins.
In August 2022, a company ( Simul Sports Ltd) funded by Damien Sing, the Chief Financial Officer of Canva, along with a consortium of other ‘ money men’ formed by Mr Julian Jenkins, formerly Commercial Director at Cardiff City FC, where he won many awards from the football league.
Those awards were based on fan engagement and seeing the Welsh Club go from the bottom of the old, fourth division to the Premier League twice.
Events unfolded when Jenkins and his sports agent, Yeovil-born Steve Day, brokered an initial deal with former Wimbledon owner Sam Hammam to purchase the club, in a scheme known as ‘ Bluebirds 2000’, which saw gates swell from 4,000 to 20,000 prior to the club moving to a new stadium.
When Hammam departed Cardiff City sat at the top of the Championship before going on to reach the dizzy heights of the Premiership twice under new owner Malaysian Billionaire Mr Vincent Tan, another deal organized by Day and his counterparts it’s understood.
Jenkins then went to Switzerland for rescuing Servette FC, taking with him Kevin Cooper, a former Derby, Wolves, and Cardiff player organized by the Day/Jenkins association.
The next venture for Jenkins and his multi-millionaire-backed consortium was Yeovil Town, ironically a club Day had followed since childhood.
It’s understood Day & Hammam themselves had previously approached then chairman John Fry to a potential purchase without success, and after just under two years of negotiations, a deal was struck for the club to be sold to Simul Sports Ltd and take over at the start of the season in August 2022.
Seven new players were lined up along with a new manager, including a high-scoring striker.
Although the deal collapsed when Scott Priestnall received approximately £200,000 investment from fan Stuart Robins.
The funds allowed Priestnall more time to negotiate with the South Somerset District Council, which saw the council purchase the club and land, which allowed Priestnall both to pay off his loans and debts and obtain an exclusive buyback deal with the council via his holdings company.
Furthermore, later in the year as now the club started to face the threat of relegation, another deal was struck with Simul Sports Ltd, with the deal all agreed to go ahead on December 23rd.
It’s understood as Simul Sports Ltd wanted to not buy back the ground in preference of building new Stadia in the town; Director Robins persuaded the owner to take an offer afterwards from the Uggla family instead, possibly protecting his £200,000 previous investment.
Despite fantastic offers from both Simul Sports Ltd and Local businessman and main club sponsor Martin Hellier – the preferred offer was accepted from the Uggla’s who formed Glovers SU Glovers Ltd.
Although now, after many promises to the club’s supporters, a deal that is still not completed, and saw relegation as the potential buyers took over as ‘ Stewards’ of the club.
Whilst the new ‘ Steward’ 28-year-old Matt Uggla lauded the applause from the fans, it soon turned sour when the 28 year got involved with Social Media spats and targeted the current manager Marc Cooper accusing him in public of not telling truths as well as accusing him of taking funds from the club via agents. The potential libellous claims by Uggla were soon withdrawn from his Twitter account, although having already having being read by thousands.
Whilst the manager remained professional, the totally unprofessional behaviour of the 28-year-old rocked the footballing world as well as the loyal supporters of Yeovil Town FC, including the current directors of the club, leaving agents and players now unwilling to entertain any business with the club itself whilst Uggla is the ‘ Steward’
Now manager Marc Cooper yesterday revealed that two consortiums are battling for control of the club, indirectly saying one group is the Uggla operation whilst stating another is making an attempt.
It’s understood from several sources that current director Stuart Robins who is an advocate of current manager Cooper, is himself trying to organize a group to take over the club, although this has yet to be confirmed.
Global247news this afternoon held an exclusive interview with the normally private Steve Day, who delivered his own thoughts straight to the point to our sports correspondent Jake Cox.
Day who represents many household sporting names ranging from Football and Formula One all the way to boxing, pulled no punches in his direct thoughts on the current situation at Yeovil Town Football Club.
Jake: Steve, firstly, thank you for agreeing to this interview whilst you are home in Yeovil, I know it’s a place you regard as your hometown and a place you come to get away from your hectic business life, but first, I have to ask you what’re your direct thoughts on the current situation at Yeovil Town Football Club and your interest?
Steve: Not a problem, Jake, Ok Yeovil Town, It’s quite frankly a complete shambles, my interest goes back to as a young child firstly going to watch Yeovil Town and then with my ‘surrogate’ brothers Shaun & Scott Cousins as a teenager, until I left Yeovil at 17 years old, for all those years, wherever in the world, it was always the second score I looked out for after the West Ham result. I say surrogate as I was raised by the most wonderful woman in the world anyone could ever meet, Jackie Cousins, and her fantastic husband Bob. True Yeovil people.
Jake: Thanks for the insight; okay, to the football club, where is exactly the shambles at present?
Steve: Firstly, you have to start with the detested current owner, Scott Preistnall; the town has a football club that has no interest in the Club whatsoever, his only interest is a buy-back exclusive deal and what money he can make out of it.
I think the council should be hanging their heads in shame, too if they hadn’t rewarded Priestnall in what essence was a bridging loan of 2.8 million pounds, which he used to clear his debts and the loan he took out to purchase the club and land in the first place, then the club would now be under new ownership backed by millionaires who’s desire was to put the football club first and engage fully with the community.
Once Priestnall got wind the Council would ‘ bail him out the hole’, there was never going to be a deal as he smelt profit on the exclusive buyback deal with his holdings company with the council, in my opinion, the council was either naive or plainly stupid, you only have to look at the town centre state I feel to form your own opinion! They should never have got involved in football, they indirectly blocked a deal that would have benefitted the whole community in so many ways going through.
A complete shambles to start off, you had the multi-millionaire Damien Sing, and others prepared to invest in the whole structure of the club from top to bottom starting from young local children all the way to the first team action.
Whilst I won’t go into names now as it would be totally unprofessional as they are not contracted to the club, 7 quality players were ready to move to the club and a manager, Yeovil fans would have all been fully satisfied with. One of those players proved this season to be a very high-scoring individual, but no it didn’t take place as the Council bailed out Preistnall.
Jake: You say bailed out Steve, but the Council agreement was quite a while after the collapse of the deal and the owner Scott Priestnall told supporters there was ‘ no cash on the table’ to do a deal?
Steve: To the Priestnall statement, firstly, It was farcical; the money sat in the lawyer’s escrow account, ready to complete. He told shall we say, fabricated ‘fables’ to the club’s supporters; as for the length of the time difference, don’t forget, current director Stuart Robins invested £200,000 into the club, this bought Priestnall time, without that £200,000 being invested, Simul Sports Ltd would now have been in control and most likely promoted back to the Football League. I can honestly tell you Yeovil Town would have had more financial support without the limelight than Wrexham. Directly or indirectly, Robins prevented the deal from taking place; only he can answer the rest on that point, I like Stuart; he’s a pleasant man, a fan foremost; I think he was naive personally putting the money into the club when he did, rather like Goldberg bought the team only off Ron Noades at Crystal Palace, – indirectly giving Priestnall oxygen when he was gasping for air with debts piling up and loan repayments due, the council deal as we know cleared that.
Jake: That’s very interesting; okay, let’s go forward; as we are aware local businessman Martin Hellier and the main club sponsor came forward in an attempt to buy the club and save it. Do you know Martin, and do you know why that deal didn’t go through if the money was there again?
Steve: Yes, I’ve known Martin for years, a self-made man whose passion, and his sons, is Yeovil Town; Martin contacted me, we found again players, and he was prepared again to fund a striker quickly, something we all know the club was lacking, Again the deal didn’t go through, I believe simply as Martin being his own man wanted to buy it all, but Priestnall wanted to play on the buyback deal. I felt for Martin as he took a lot of stick on Social media from supporters when he was prepared to fund the lot; Martin reminds me of Lord Alan Sugar; he will say it as it is back on social media and yes, he gave it back when abused, it my book that was fair enough, but the abuse towards him on social media was unwarranted, Martins a straight-talking businessman, not a politician offering spin at the end of the day. I like Martin.
Jake: So, can we come back to Simul Sports? I understand another deal was agreed quietly behind the scenes and was finalized on Dec 23rd, 2022, and agreed by all parties and ready for completion. Why did that one fall down again?
From my understanding, Stuart Robins viewed the situation and advised Priestnall to go with the Uggla offer instead, in my opinion, and thoughts, for two reasons, firstly I would not be surprised if it comes back to the buyback deal, Uggla, or should I say, SU Glovers Ltd made an agreement to purchase the stadium and ground when Priesntnall would be ready to make profits on the back of it, I would imagine too, in the event he has an agreement in the event, related to his £200,000 investment into the club, in other words having a return on the buyback profits, whereas Simul Sports Ltd would rent the stadia from the council whilst moving on to build a new stadium. Again though those would be questions for Stuart to answer, my thoughts, Simul Sports Ltd had offered though to protect him anyway, but he was naive again, and his preference was the SU Glover deal, which has, as we all know, has yet to finalize, the hold up will be I’m sure something to do with the buyback, possibly they have overvalued the stadium and now realized it’s unfit for purpose and nowhere near what they have to come up with when and if Priestnall wants to buy back from the Council. That’s my guess on the matter, but only, Priestnall, Robins, and Uggla will be privy to that information.
Jake: Mark Cooper the manager, has indicated there is a second consortium in play now; who do you think that is, or is it Simul Sports for a third time?
Steve: Jake, listen, it’s not Simul Sports Ltd, having wasted just under £100,000 on legal costs coming to the table twice to save the club, they won’t return to the table to be messed about yet again if the owners want to do the right deal for the club and its supporters, they need to pick up the phone to Julian and have a signed agreement ready, then the club can start to move forward, recruiting players (yet again) rebuilding the club from bottom to top, bringing the profession of everyone involved in and totally restructuring on and off the field as well as a new stadium with Julian fronting and promoting it, he’s an expert at it, I still remember us sitting with the boxing promotor Don King at dinner in Vegas before a fight, when Jenks asked him his key to success, Don replied ‘ Promotion, Promotion, Promotion’ before saying: ‘ Why do you think Jesus died on the cross?’ Since then, Jenks has filled stadiums around the world and put the revenues through the roof. Meanwhile, the experience of football is there too, Simul Sports would be football people with football in mind whilst engaging totally with the community and all the supporters of the club; you don’t win awards from the football league like he has, for nothing.
Going back to your question, though, regards the second consortium. Personally, I would take a stab at it being Stuart trying to pull people together in an attempt to save the club.
Jake: Do you have any advice for Stuart Robins if that’s the case?
Steve: Yes, I do, call Jenks and Simul are there, but you have to make the first move and have a signed contract ready to do the deal for the benefit of the famous Yeovil Town and its fantastic supporters, old and young; this town needs its football club. We need the club to be run on a professional level by experienced football people.
Jake: Although if the SU Glovers deal finally goes through, what do you predict?
Steve: Quite frankly, disaster, I’ll be straight, he has no experience at all; we have already seen his actions toward the current manager, it’s a 28-year-old kid playing with Daddies money, the club has just been relegated, and where is he? Swigging Red Stripe beer in the Caribbean, I hear? That’s not the actions of a decent club owner; it would be better for the club if he went back to playing football manager on his PlayStation.
Cooper is a professional manager; whilst he’s been taking unwarranted stick from the fans, he’s been like a gravedigger digging with a teaspoon due to the lack of financial support at the club.
I also see a boardroom rift; Stuart is an advocate and supporter like me of Cooper, so is Martin Hellier come to that, Uggla no doubt will sack him and has shown how unprofessional and immature he is towards Cooper as well as other matters like banning the main club sponsor and promising statues in an attempt to gain fans support.
A football manager needs to be able to select his own players and be allowed to get on with the job at hand, if he then fails, you replace him, but he needs the tools first, and he has not had that with the off-field shambles.
Jake: Any final thoughts, Steve, before I let you go?
Steve: Yes, Stuart’s a decent guy with the club at heart; he needs to do the right thing now and admit he was wrong, pick up the phone to myself if he needs assistance, or talk directly to Julian and get the deal done with no more fannying about. As for Priestnall, he needs running out of town now, whatever it takes; supporters need to now achieve this, following the club’s motto, ‘ Achieve By Unity,’ demonstrate whatever it takes, pull together to get rid of him, his type should never be allowed anywhere near a football club. Priestnall should thank his lucky stars. He’s not behaved this way at somewhere like Cardiff; the fans there drive out bad owners! – ask Peter Ridsdale!
In the meantime, the club’s supporters fear for their club as the long, drawn-out saga continues to roll on, that’s if the club. can avoid administration.
With rent to the council kicking in next season at the rate of £14,000 per month and Global247news having the club’s full accounts and financial breakdowns at hand, the current business looks totally unviable to be able to operate unless a heavy investment comes forward.