Martin Hellier, the current owner of Yeovil Town Football Club, gets a response to wild social media claims.
Martin Hellier is a local businessman in Yeovil, Somerset, who recently purchased the small town’s non-league football club, which was on the verge of liquidation.
The club who play at Huish Park, on the outskirts of the small market town in South Somerset, are known as the Glovers, with their nickname coming from the town’s heritage of manufacturing leather gloves, although production of gloves finished when the most significant remaining company, went into administration in 2023.
Administration and likely liquidation appeared to be the direction the football club was heading, just like the last-standing glove factory, whilst under the ownership of Scott Preistnall.
The history of Yeovil Town is most known for their FA Cup exploits, well known for knocking out league teams from the competition whilst spending over a hundred years as a non-league club. However, the little club from the West Country did pull off a fantastic football feat of reaching the Championship, one league away from the golden ticket, the Premier League, under the ownership of Norman Hayward and his counterpart John Fry.
Although the massive climb up, the football ladders soon became like the board game ‘snakes and ladders’ as the club, in repetitive seasons, slid straight back down to its home for many years, non-league football.
Many supporters blamed the slide for a lack of investment when it achieved Championship status. Battles for planning permission commenced with the local planning authorities over land surrounding the ground. However, a breakthrough never came that would have allowed the club’s ownership to develop a financial infrastructure to feed the club with much-needed finances. In a strange move at the time, the then club’s owners split the land the club owned away from the football club, leaving many historical supporters having major concerns the land would never be used for ‘footballing investment reasons’ with housing more likely and the profits entering the pockets of the directors of the land-owning company, set aside from the football club itself.
Failing to gain any planning permission, a lack of empathy appeared evident from the then board of directors, and a departure from the club itself came upon the horizon as they sought to move on the club whilst holding onto the land.
An American investor came forward in the name of Rob Couhig, The American businessman, lawyer and sports team owner, although after lengthy drawn-out negotiations, couldn’t agree with demands over the land, which were, in effect, a financial payback to the then owners, in the event of planning permission being sought.
The deal collapsed, whilst Couhig went on to purchase Wycombe Wanderers in the football league, purchasing the majority of shares from the fans, who previously had formed a supporters trust, to save the club after its financial issues.
It was a golden opportunity missed for the non-league West Country Club; Wycombe now has a responsible owner who allows the supporters a 10% shareholding, whilst interaction with the club’s fans is reported as exceptional.
Former Cardiff City & Wimbledon owner Sam Hamman, with two Cardiff businessmen, flirted with taking ownership of the struggling West Country side, All having a track record of raising football clubs from the ashes, Wimbledon having gone from non-league football to many years in the Premiership, whilst Cardiff City again rose from the bottom of the fourth division to the top of the Championship before he departed from the Welsh Capital Club. Discussions were lengthy, but parties could not agree to land planning permission ‘package deals’, and the three-man party walked away. Another great miss for Yeovil Town from a party with the complete finances and footballing experience of taking football clubs forward, as already proven.
Shortly after, an unknown Scott Priestnall entered the equation, coming from a background unrelated to any football involvement, claiming to be from the leisure industry, with a string of dissolved companies behind him.
Priestnall agreed a deal with the then owners, purchasing the club with a loan secured on the football club. At first, feeling the relief of shedding the club’s previous owners, many supporters treated Preiestnall as the next messiah. However, others saw through the green and white tinted spectacles from the start, which included the iconic fan known as ‘Badger’ who sadly passed away whilst the Priestnall reign was in full swing.
It soon became apparent that ‘Badger’ was correct in all his assumptions.
Preisntnall had no caring for the football club, with his full sights on profiting from the land surrounding the ground, which had suited Hayward and Fry as they would financially gain from planning permission being sought.
Priestnall rode by the skin of his pants, taking loan after loan, all secured on the football club, with some remaining today.
On many occasions, he took the club to the brink of financial oblivion, and as he did so, many times, a deal was agreed upon with Simul Sports Ltd only to be changed at the last moment. Simul Sports Ltd was fronted by another Cardiff man, Julian Jenkins.
Jenkins had cut his teeth at Cardiff City after departing the furniture industry to work tirelessly at the Welsh club as it moved from the lower leagues to the Premiership.
Jenkins won many awards from the football league for his innovations towards fan engagement, especially at lower league levels where incoming finances.
Meanwhile, multi-millionaire backers based in Australia, Gibraltar & Monaco funded him in his aims. One of those backers was Damien Singh, the multi-millionaire from Canva.
Those aims were to apply Jenkins’s award-winning innovations to Yeovil Town FC whilst moving to a new stadium with the assistance of his financial backers.
Talks were held with the local council, and the deal was that the council would purchase the whole site at Huish Park whilst allowing a new multi-purpose stadium to be built at the three sites offered.
Those sites were at Cargate, Lysander Road and a town centre site, intending to pull business back into the centre of the market town. The town centre being the most favoured by all parties.
Although Priesntnall often changed the deal at the last moment as he clung to the ropes financially, each time he was back in the corner, clinging to the ropes, he was saved by the bell, allowing him to change the deal and hang on for personal financial gains.
On the first occasion, he was saved by Stuart Robins, a supporter, who invested £200,000 and became a club director. It bought Priestnall oxygen to get out of the corner and, in essence, hold off Simul Sports Ltd.
On the second occasion, as the funds ran out yet again, the local authority purchased the land and ground, agreeing to rent the ground back at approx £50,000 a quarter, with a rent-free period.
Whilst both Robins and the local authority may have felt they were doing the correct thing at the time, they gave time to Priesnall to seek personal gain.
Once the land was sold to the council, one of the investors, a multi-millionaire property developer whose main interest was a new stadium move and building revenue streams for the club, pulled the plug, and the Simul Sports Ltd party disbanded.
Although the remaining members sat back and considered other options, again, a deal was reached with Priestnall until the Uggla family came forward offering better financial packages to Preistnall; Priestnall installed them as the ‘Stewards’ of the club whilst the deal was to be completed.
The period was a disaster for the club; the son Matt Uggla, playing with his parent’s money after studying to be a sports agent at Southampton University, rolled up at the ground, walking his dog around the terraces, promising the supporters the world, whilst appearing the worse for wear due to the effects of alcohol on many occasions, even joining fans on the terrace leading them to sing ‘Cooper out’ at away games as the manager, Cooper, was stopped from signing his own chosen players, having to use those selected by Uggla, a student out of University.
It was a complete disaster. Having no power to sack well-thought-of Mark Cooper, Uggla took to social media to accuse the manager of many things, including taking bungs from agents for players.
It turned the historic small-town club into a complete pantomime as the small fan base watched in disbelief.
In the meantime, war broke out on social media channels as local businessman Martin Hellier came forward to enter the equation.
Hellier’s son, Jack, was a childhood Yeovil supporter, and his father, Martin, had become a club sponsor whilst now attending matches.
Hellier also wanted to purchase the club and block any deal between the Uggla family and Preistnall.
Priestnall, once again, faltered on his agreements with the Uggla family, as he had done with Simul Sports Ltd.
Hellier and Matt Uggla took to their keyboards and continued to battle it out, with Hellier being reported to the FA by the Ugglas for violent threats. Hellier even took to LinkedIn to attack the son’s father during the early hours of the morning whilst at the same time texting and messaging Priestnall, to the point where Preistnall stated he would never sell the club to a person who acted in such an unprofessional manner.
Not long after, the Ugglas announced the deal was off, whilst Priesnalls developers also pulled out of a deal for housing on the land around the ground.
Priestnall, this time, was not only on the ropes financially; he was lowering to the floor as the financial blows pounded in. £400,00o approx was owed to the Uggla family for their investment into the club, much of it having been wasted on unfit, poor, quality players that had relegated the club to the lowly National League South.
HMRC was knocking on the door as they prepared to liquidate the club.
Three parties were in the ring: Julian Jenkins and his reduced party, but still containing Damien Singh, worth 100 million pounds alone; Martin Hellier and his Yeovil based, sex chat internet business with property investments; and then on-the-ropes owner, Priestnall, still hanging on for personal financial gains.
Jenkins & Co. went quietly about their business dealing directly with Priestnall.
Meanwhile, Global247news ourselves, backed Hellier, pushing forward his agenda, despite our owner, Steve Day, having a long association with Julian Jenkins through business operations together in both football and other interests, with him stating at the time, ‘ May the best man win, there’s no animosity, at the end of the day Martin at one stage wanted to collaborate and buy Taunton Town when he looked like Yeovil had gone to the Ugglas.’
The journalist, William Reynolds, a Yeovil Town follower himself, While our owner, Steve Day, has always followed the club since he was a small child, although an avid West Ham supporter, clashed on occasions but decided which party came forward requesting publication, would obtain so, as long as it eventually benefited Yeovil Town FC.
Hellier pushed his promotion, and Jenkins & Co. stuck to their plan of remaining quiet and dealing directly with Priestnall, with Global247news publishing Hellier’s promotion.
Hellier would contact Day directly, and Global247news would publish.
Eventually, Hellier, determined to purchase the club, decided to pay Priestnall far more than what Jenkins & Co and its lawyers valued the club at and purchased both the club and the surrounding land outright, as well as pay back the Uggla’s, something Jenkins & Co were prepared to do, but feeling the Hellier offer was over the top and allowed him to purchase the club, as Preistnall chased financial gain.
A spokesperson for Jenkins & Co told Global247news:
‘ At the end of the day, we told Priestnall ‘Don’t piss on our shoes when it isn’t raining ‘- we saw the massive potential for Yeovil Town; we had noted a catchment area of 500,000 people who could be entertained on a Saturday. With how Julian has commercially changed the outlook of football clubs in the UK and Switzerland, this was Yeovil’s big chance, but it wasn’t to be at the end of the day.
‘ Priestnall took the Hellier offer; he was desperate to win, and as Scott said, he couldn’t turn down the financial windfall presented by Martin; whilst we had realistic valuations, Martin wished to pay more, that, of course, is his prerogative’
The current situation, though now, is Yeovil Town has stabilised in the lower leagues, playing in the National League South, with Yeovil remaining a full-time club at the expense of part-time clubs, where players work outside football and train on a part-time basis.
Although Yeovil currently heads the part-time league – sadly, the pantomime at Yeovil Town continues, with Yeovil Town’s owner, Martin Hellier, embarrassing the historic club and continuing with his outbursts on social media whilst banning many supporters from Huish Park. This strategy would never have been seen under the guidance of Julian Jenkins.
After requesting much promotion from Global247news, Hellier attacks on social media, the news outlet he depended on. Following where, fans who disagree with his comments have been under attack and banned from the club with a warning from our owner, Steve Day.
Day, the owner of Global247news, said: ‘ Sadly, Martin Hellier continues to embarrass the club’s history, his actions on social media continue, and he bans supporters for disagreeing with his views. I’ve been banned myself. He hasn’t deprived me, but I had enticed my young son to follow Yeovil Town. However, he can’t attend now without his dad. It’s no issue. We will avoid local football. It’s not the bee’s end of life.’
‘At the same time, sadly, Martin Hellier hasn’t proven to be a responsible owner at all, and at present, I can’t see where his future investment comes from- his company, for instance, has seen in the latest accounts has seen a drop in turnover drop 50% from 14 million to 7 million, with nowhere near profits to drive forward a football club to any great heights.
‘ The reality is you can’t operate a loss-making company without making a profit from your outside companies that are needed to fund your loss-making company IE Yeovil Town FC’
However, Hellier once again has reverted to hiding behind the keyboard of his computer to make his attacks.
Day said: ‘ To be honest, having been involved in the football industry, I haven’t seen a more childish owner of a football club in what 40 years, let’s face the facts, here’s a former ‘pop’man from the Arrow pub, who made a few quid from sex chat lines.
Now, he’s paid over the odds for a football club to achieve ownership; he lined Preisntnall’s pockets, that’s for sure. Allowing him to walk away with what he didn’t deserve.
‘ At the end of the day, Hellier, despite now telling the world it is his club, is correct in his assumption, Although his ego of being a large businessman in a small town, owning a small non-league football team, could see further issues.
‘At the end of the day, his business turnover has dropped by 50%, according to Companies House records; it’s not the position to lead a non-profitable football club.
‘Instead of facing up to some of his loss-making businesses within his group of companies, he plays keyboard warrior on social media, giving it large.’
Day referred to a recent posting on social media, to which the football club chairman reverted to:
‘ Well, firstly, as the owner of Global247news, Global can report on my interaction with Avon & Somerset Police; it was a case of us reporting a paedophile and getting him off the streets of Yeovil Town, Global247news will always report sex offenders who are a danger to children.
‘Although I feel Martin Hellier would prefer to mock such a stance, as demonstrated by his latest keyboard actions, that’s Martin; we have all seen his recent behaviour whilst at the head of the non-league football club; let’s say he’s brave on a keyboard when we had confrontation as he approached me at the ground it a was a different scenario, he had more excuses than a turkey being prepared for Christmas, to be honest.
‘ The sad thing is he continues to embarrass Yeovil Town Football Club, brawling with more minor young supporters in bars whilst banning supporters who disagree with his views.
‘ I did have to laugh at the latest club statement of asking supporters to behave themselves when the current owner is the worst offender, although he makes more threats on a keyboard than in reality.
Today, for instance, he’s claiming it’s my face for now, stating it will change currently.
I don’t think he could change a jigsaw puzzle – let alone my ugly face.’ Day said.
‘ Although, here we have a power hungry egotistic man in charge of the club, but in my book, he needs to grow up; he’s no gangster as he likes to portray, as he dresses like a peaky blinder!
‘ The Clubs is in a new era now; it’s got a silly little man in charge, a keyboard warrior who can’t behave himself on social media, with his company dropping 50% in turnover and far fewer profits, whilst the football club like many others is a loss-making business.
‘ Plying in the money to keep a full-time non-league football team in a part-time league is expensive, significantly when your business drops 50% in turnover.
‘ Naturally, the standard fan only sees the wins on the pitch without looking at the future.
‘ That’s football, but at the same time, small football clubs attract egotistic owners who seek attention, and that’s currently what Yeovil Town have with Martin Hellier’
‘ Looking at his finances, Yeovil Town, unless new investment comes in, won’t progress further than the National League. Whilst he portrays himself as a multi-millionaire businessman, he’s only managed a 600k profit from his sex lines, blaming technology changes!
Despite all that, he’s more concerned about me going to the police in an attempt to remove paedophiles from the streets of my home town, Yeovil and drawing up cartoons claiming he has people in high places! – he’s a fat minnow in a street puddle.
‘ You only have to look at Ms Botham’s claim, which she won for unfair dismissal, to judge his character, where she states she could never work in an office again after working for Hellier.
‘ He’s quite frankly, in my opinion, a disaster waiting to happen’, finished Day.
As the saying goes, it will all come out in the wash, and currently, the future of non-league Yeovil Town appears to be in the hands of a boy in a suit whose company recordings are less than to be desired for a football club in the long term.