It has been a busy couple of days for sport in Wrexham, but there is very little positivity that we can take from the last forty-eight hours or so. More or less exactly as we were posting our last update, regarding the decision of the Wrexham owner Geoff Moss not to apply for a three year extension to the Super League for his Crusaders Rugby Football League Club, Wrexham FC was posting up two statements on the club’s official site regarding recent developments at the club. They both made for interesting reading, not least because they seemed to demonstrate a lack of self-awareness which borders upon the bizarre.
The first statement, released on Tuesday night, can be seen here. Perhaps the stand-out line from this is concerning Colin Poole, the disqualified solicitor who was looking to purchase the club earlier this year. Describing Poole as “a very likeable man” (which we have no reason not to believe, though whether this qualifies him to own a football club – we know that he would have failed the FA’s Fit & Proper Persons Test, though), the writer of the statement clearly seems disappointed that this take-over didn’t happen, and the references to the amount of time that the WST needed to take over its due diligence carry the implication – and this is not the first time that this has been implied – that the delays in completing the purchase of the club is somehow the Trust’s fault.
Yesterday’s official statement can be seen here. It states that, “We call on the WST to come forward and help us financially through this short term period until the takeover is completed.”, and repeats the claim that, “We have nothing to hide”, and that, “We call on the WST to come forward and help us financially through this short term period until the takeover is completed.” More, then, of the same, but both of these statements were small beer in comparison with the news to emerge from the club today, which, it must be said, casts the first serious doubts over whether Wrexham will be able to complete (or perhaps even start) the new season. Meanwhile, two new parties are said to be in talks with Moss and Roberts. It is not known at present who they are.
Wrexham were due to be playing a pre-season friendly match against Colwyn Bay, but the match was called off this morning. The news that filtered through was about as grim as could be imagined. The match was being called off because the players have not been paid, with some getting ready to go on strike over unpaid wages. In the interests of dressing room unity, it is understood that first team manager Dean Saunders sent the entire team home, and Saturday’s friendly match against Vauxhall Motors has also been cancelled. In addition to this, it is also understood that the other staff of the club have also not been paid, and that there is at present no date by which the current outstanding wages will be paid.
We noted on this site a couple of days ago that the Football Conference would most likely want some answers as to what on earth is going on at the club at the moment, and official confirmation of this came this evening with a short message that you can see here. It is worth pointing out that the league should be congratulated on swift, affirmative action. They are clearly keeping a very close eye on events at The Racecourse Ground, and this that such a statement should be made so quickly and so publicly is a positive reflection upon their commitment to ensuring that their member clubs clean up their financial act. Meanwhile, the Wrexham Supporters Trust has issued its own statement, stating that, “we feel it necessary to pause and take stock of our discussions with the Club until the owners make their intentions publicly clear”.
Perhaps the most important point to be made at this stage in proceedings is that, this time, there is no place for Moss and Roberts to hide. The blame for today’s debacle falls squarely on their shoulders – as the owners of Wrexham Football Club, they are responsible for paying the wages of the players and staff of the club, and they are responsible for doing this on time. The players of Wrexham FC may be professional players, but Wrexham is a long way from the multi-million pound riches of the Premier League. There is a moral duty on the part of those running the club to ensure that staff wages are paid on time – it is one of the most fundamental obligations that any employer has.
The ultimate truth of this situation is a simple, if painful one. If it cannot pay its wages and staff on time, by any reasonable definition Wrexham Football Club is insolvent. What assurances can Moss and Roberts possibly give the Football Conference over the next couple of days? Wrexham supporters will fight to the absolute bitter end – a demonstration is planned to take place at The Racecourse Ground on Saturday afternoon at 3pm – but, unless funding is put into the club, either immediately or almost immediately, then Wrexham FC will die. It has no monetary value and no matter who ends up running it, some tough decisions are going to need to be made in order to keep it afloat. There are still, however, hurdles to be jumped to get that far. As such, the next few days could be the most important in the history of Wrexham Football Club.
The Wrexham Supporters Trust still needs funds to facilitate the take-over and stabilisation of Wrexham FC. You can donate by clicking here.
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