Swindon Town’s Turn For A Winding Up Order?


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.

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6 Responses

  1. Simon Cope says:

    “Also, if £1.45m was the amount borrowed in 2005, the fact that the amount owed has risen to £2.45m in such a short period of time could also be an avenue to dispute the amounts owed”

    Never underestimate the power of compound interest! An increase of £1m in total debt on an initial loan of £1.45m can easily be gained with a commercially reasonable annual interest rate of 14% applied over 4 years.

    Very crudely: £1.45m x 1.14 x 1.14 x 1.14 x 1.14 = £2.45m

    The power of compound interest, coupled with not paying off any capital. Scary stuff.

  2. Paul D says:

    Hmm, this isn’t quite as cut and dried as the Guardian piece (which you seem, quite reasonably, to have based your article on) makes it sound. It seems the Guardian article basically came from a St Modwens PR flack touching up the journo directly – the information wasn’t released by the club or the courts, there was no general PR out on the wires, and in fact it seems no WUP was served yesterday. So this looks more like St Modwen have fallen out with the club over how much the debt is, who owes it and possibly a repayment schedule agreed in this mysterious Aug 2007 agreement.

    The article contains a number of glaring inaccuracies, not least the claim that Fitton (note, not “Flitton”) took over in 2007, which would seem to fit with the expiry of this two-year repayment deal in Aug 2009. Except that Fitton didn’t take over until mid-Jan 2008. In Aug 2007, the old regime (who are at the heart of all this) were busy flogging us off to some group of dodgy Portugeezers who made Munto/Qabak/whoever the hell they are at Notts County look positively open and transparent. Indeed they even introduced the Portugeeezers’ chosen representative (Jim Little, ex of Cork City) on the pitch during our Sky game against Yeovil as “chairman designate”. So if St Modwen did agree a two-year repayment schedule in Aug 2007, they didn’t agree it with Fitton.

    St Modwen certainly did put several tranches of money into somewhere in 2004/05, but it’s far from clear where it ended up. They set up Shaw Park Developments, a joint venture with the old regime’s Holding Company which was to be the vehicle to flog off the County Ground and build a new one at Shaw Tip. Except that never got off the ground, in part because of local objections and in part because the proposed housing development at the County Ground would never have got past planning (and the council probably couldn’t legally have given permission for it). In short, it was a typical cock-up of the old Wills/Diamandis regime – the Wills family being the owners at the time and Diamandis being the disqualified director they trusted to run the club. But despite the development being still-born, Diamandis persuaded St Modwen to plough money in via Shaw Park Developments. Where it went is anyone’s guess – some of it ended up at the club, but some went into the Holding Company. Who knows whether that was put into the club? If the fate of Bill Power’s later £1m investment/loan is anything to go by, well, about 10% of that never went near the club but went straight out to Diamandis-connected beneficiaries (including one of his creditors and the livery stables where his wife kept her horses).

    None of which matters to St Modwen, they just want their money back. But it may well matter to the courts, who might well decide (as they did with Bill Power) that the beneficiary of the money was not the club but the (now defunct) Holding Co.

    It’s all a sorry mess and one which Town fans now well used to the horrid pickle of any business dealings involving Diamandis are all too used to – a network of joint ventures, holding companies, investment vehicles and ultimately no-one being very clear who owes what to whom. So we can have some sympathy with St Modwen – like so many other people who unwisely chose to do business with Diamandis, they got stiffed. But at least they had a choice, we just had the beggar running our club (largely into the ground) without so much as a by your leave. And that may be where this all ends up – if this does go to court, a judge may rule, pretty much as he did with Bill Power, that St Modwen made a bad investment, with bad partners and sometimes in business you have to accept that, swallow your losses and move on.

    What seems to be going on here is not as the Guardian’s rather wildly overstated article said an imminent threat to the future of the club, more an opening salvo to put pressure on the club after the breakdown of discussions about how, when and how much of the money should be repaid. Most likely sparked by St Modwen realising that when Fitton and Co come up with what are likely to be the first realistic plans to redevelop the County Ground to come from the club board, they ain’t getting a piece of the pie. So they’re throwing their toys out of the pram publicly in an attempt to pressure Fitton and Co into repaying yet another debt that Diamandis saddled the club with in his ongoing effort to break the world “peeing it up against a wall” record.

    And I should add I’ve got a lot of respect for this blog – top work – and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take a report in the Grauniad at face value, they usually have a good track record on football stories. In this instance though, it seems they’ve allowed themselves to be seduced by the “exclusive hot tip” and so gone for the more sensational angle. Still, at least they seem to know the difference between a Winding Up Petition and Administration which is more than today’s Sun can claim. Sadly, most Town fans are all too familiar with the workings of Administration and various other insolvency procedures, thanks to our time under Mr Diamandis’ wise leadership.

  3. Bobo says:

    Really interesting stuff, particularly from a pretty poorly informed Town fans perspective.

  4. NickDunmore says:

    I see that CLubs in Crisis (122) is mounting a bid to overtake International Football (126) in the Categories list. How very sad.

    Loved: “Saying, “it’s not fair” in itself isn’t usually considered to be reasonable grounds to set the demand aside.”

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