Are The Wheels Falling Off The Notts Wagon?
“Im struggling to see where the gamble is n other team fans who say crap are just jealous!”
“If you know anyone in serious banking circles your questions would be answered, or, otherwise just take a look at half of the middle east, these guys built most of it.”
“good to see th geen eyed meanies are out for Notts, Our club has rotted in the doldrums for years…finally we find a backer who has a sensible plan and funds available and were the idiots for daring to think that there is more to life than a the slow death that awaited us without this takeover.”
“It is for that reason that our elected Chairman would not place blind hope in Munto Finance if they could not support their claims. They aim to build sound infrastructure with the view to make us become a self-sufficient Championship team.”
“We know very little about the new owners but I’m guessing Sven would have been pretty keen to meet them to see proof of their funding before joining up.”
It is, contrary to received wisdom, not easy to say “I told you so”, and there has been precious little satisfaction to be had from the unravelling of the Notts County story over the last couple of weeks. This morning’s news that Munto Finance are putting Notts County up for sale is worrying news for Notts County supporters, but it is not news that is entirely unexpected. The grim truth of the matter seems to be that the money that was promised to them in the summer was no more than a hill of beans. There simply never were any billionaires from the Middle East that had suddenly fallen in love with a small, loss-making football club from the East Midlands.
Perhaps the question that we need to ask at this point should be this: who was it exactly that was hoodwinked? There can be little doubt that Notts supporters were, in voting to give away ownership of the club without receiving anything in return apart from a vague “bank guarantee” to fund spending at a level that under any other circumstances would be considered completely unsustainable in League Two. Many Notts supporters continue believe that they are better off now than they were under the previous ownership of the club, but this simply doesn’t take into account the bare fact that had they been that unhappy with their trust board, they could have voted them out and voted in a new one. All that they can do now is keep their fingers crossed that someone is going to ride in and save the club.
The team most likely to do this at present seems at the moment to be Sven Goran Eriksson and Peter Trembling. Trembling, however, may have been hoodwinked exactly the same as Notts fans were. It has been he, after all, that has been the public face of the club since the summer, repeatedly making statements that endorsed the received wisdom that the club was owned by billionaires and that rumours of all being not quite what they seemed at Meadow Lane were being written by people with an alternative agenda. Perhaps the time has now come for him to set those supporters straight, especially when we consider that if he didn’t have the wool pulled over his eyes, he must, by definition, have lied repeatedly to supporters of the club. Here, for the record, are some direct quotations from him.
“Now we have sufficient investment to take us through into the Championship in five years. It [Munto] is made up of a number of private investors and they will remain private. I have been out to the Middle East many times over the last few years and met some of the investors quite a few years ago.”
“The investment project is on track; we have brought in a lot of new players and resources into the club but obviously this is a five-year project, not a five-week one.”
“I just can’t fathom why people aren’t applauding the fact that these Middle East businessmen want to invest in Notts County. I don’t know if it’s jealousy or a vendetta or pure spite and maliciousness.”
“In an ideal world, a longer period of due diligence would have been entered into before the acquisition of the club. However, the circumstances of the club and the start of the football season dictated that the purchase had to be completed in a much shorter timeframe in order to protect the long-term best interests of the club.”
He has to explain these comments to the supporters that gave the club to a consortium that he represented, especially if he is now to go ahead with a “management buy-out” of the club. He should also explain what sort of due diligence was done at the time of the transfer of ownership, and how it missed a £400,000 tax bill that had gone unpaid. The continued rumour of Eriksson’s involvement continues to give Notts supporters succour, but the truth of the matter is that their immediate future is likely to be somewhat more modest than they might have thought a couple of months ago, and this time they won’t have any choice over who the knew owners are.