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We have been paying close attention to the goings-on at Wrexham Football Club over the last few months, and have decided to bring together all of the articles on the subject for quick and – hopefully – easy reference. Mistrust had been building between the supporters of the club and the owners for some considerable time, and November saw a story that proved to be a portent for what would come to follow over the next six months, as various speculators locked horns with the club’s supporters trust for ownership of the oldest professional football club in Wales.
The Return Of Stephen Vaughan? Wrexham Beware: Stephen Vaughan had already been banned from acting as a company director, but this didn’t stop him from announcing that he was interested in backing a consortium to purchase the club.
Wrexham Supporters Prepare To Man The Barricades Again: By the new year, it was becoming apparent that the problems at the club were quite severe. Time, then, for a little background into the recent problems that the club has had and the decision of the owners to mortgage a debt incurred by their owners other venture, Crusaders, against The Racecourse, as well as the possibility of the club being charged rent to stay there.
The Fight For Wrexham Football Club Continues: It was now apparent that a £700,000 debt owed to the Rugby Football League by Crusaders was mortgaged to the RFL by the club. So, it was time to take a little closer look at what had happened to the Crusaders and why not having a ground of one’s own can be a millstone round the neck.
Wrexham’s Proposed New Owners Fail To Impress Their Audience: At the start of February, it was time for Van Morton Investments Ltd to step into the ring. Rumours of links between Rob Bickerton – the public face of the bid – and Stephen Vaughan were rife, and there were other links as well. The Football Conference, by this time, was starting to take an interest in what was going on at the club.
Unregistered Club Withdraws From Buying Wrexham: Within a week, the Van Morton bid was dead on its feet, with unsubstantiated threats (a common theme of the Wrexham story) having been an apparent factor behind the withdrawal of the bid.
Puppets On A String: The Wrexham Board Responds: The response of the directors of the club was next next focus of our attention, as well as the extraordinary performance of Rob Bickerton on the BBC’s Non-League radio show.
A Day Of Conflicting Rumours And Confusion At Wrexham: By this time, anger at the club were starting to build, including a significant protest at the club’s home match against Gateshead. Stephen Cleeve also arrived on the scene as a possible investor in the club.
Enter Stephanie Booth At Wrexham: Next up saw the arrival of Stephanie Booth on the scene. Her name had been linked with the club for some time, but somehow or other she had neglected to mention that she was barred from acting as a company director until 2012.
Wrexham’s Ownership: Peering Through The Smoke And Mirrors: Booth’s bid for the club was, it seemed, already approved, to the extent that there was a banner with “Back The Booth” printed upon it hanging from a stand at The Racecourse Ground before the official announcement was due to be made.
Wrexham FC: Familiar Faces And Even More Familar Divisions: If the announcement of Booth as the preferred bidder to buy the club (and, more significantly, the ground) had an air of farce about, that was nothing in comparison with what was to follow. The next group to be taking an interest in the club included the former Premier League player Ashley Ward and… Colin Poole.
Further Farce At Wrexham: Things fell quiet for a while after this, until stories of the club’s financial predicament started to come from Booth. The board of the club’s reaction was to suspend all talks with her regarding a take-over of the club.
Fiddling As Wrexham Burns: By this time, the date was set for the club’s hearing at the High Court in London and the increasingly erratic Booth was stating that the WST should invest all of the money that it had built up over the years in the club in order to save it. They chose to turn this offer down.
An Open Letter To HMRC Regarding Wrexham FC: Lindsay Jones had resigned from the WST a couple of months earlier, but he had an open letter to the HMRC that he allowed us to reprint on this site.
D-Day For Wrexham Passes, But There Are Further Battles Ahead: With the Football Conference having given the club a deadline to pay its tax bill or face being expelled from the end of season play-offs, the outstanding tax bill was paid just in time. The WST, meanwhile, had launched a plan to try and raise £1m to try and buy the club, its training ground and the ground.
Booth Is Out, But Other Dangers Lurk At Wrexham: Stephanie Booth retired from the battle to take over the club with one final broadside, aimed at the WST. Meanwhile, we noted that the Poole group had not yet been completely ruled out of the running.
Wrexham FC: Sold Down The River? And then, from out of the blue, the club announced that a deal had been done to sell to Jon Harris, who would be using Colin Poole as a “consultant”. As we noted at the time, though, the battle for Wrexham FC was only just beginning.
Poole Out? Maybe, Maybe Not, But The Battle For Wrexham Continues: The Dismal Jimmies turned up at a weekend equestrian event, and this perhaps proved to be the tipping point for the Poole/Allan bid. As quickly as it had appeared, they withdrew and everything was back up in the air.
Some Positive News, At Last, At Wrexham: It wasn’t up in the air for very long, though. The next day, a deal was announced confirming that a deal has been struck to sell the club to the Wrexham Supporters Trust. There’s a long way to go, but for the first time in months there was reason to be cheerful at The Racecourse Ground.
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Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.
[…] idea of what was going on throughout the second half of the season by reading the links contained here – which included a prospective owner of the club not mentioning that she was disqualified […]